Center for American Progress Action

Georgia Families Must Choose Between Food and Medication Amid High Drug Prices

The high cost of health care burdens working-class families, who find their income cannot cover ever-increasing copays. As Darien, Georgia, mother Shannon Bjorneby learned, one diagnosis can push families to the verge of food insecurity.

Shannon Bjorneby’s sons, Grey, John, and James, are pictured on Christmas 2021.

From left, Shannon Bjorneby’s sons, Grey, John, and James, are pictured on Christmas 2021. (Photo credit: Shannon Bjorneby)

Shannon is a schoolteacher and mother of three boys, all of whom live with health conditions. Even with top-tier state health insurance and a second job, her family’s health care costs make their budget very tight. When Shannon’s oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year, she had to decide between paying copays and purchasing food.

My mom always told me growing up that I should be able to support my kids if something were to happen to my husband. But there is no way I could feed my kids and pay for their medical needs on my salary. Public educators should not have second and third jobs to afford to live. Shannon Bjorneby

High prescription drug costs have long burdened America’s middle class. Congress must work to cut health care costs, and capping insulin copays at $35 per month is an important first step toward ensuring no family must decide between purchasing food and affording medicine.

Read more stories on economic justice and health care

This storybook features women in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose stories center on issues from prescription drug pricing and health insurance, to child care and paid leave.

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