She was a stressed-out mother of six, working a grueling job as a kitchen manager that required her to wake up at 4am every day. She came to her doctor for her headaches: searing, throbbing pain that made her vomit. She slept fewer than five hours a night. She had tried every over-the-counter pain medication I had heard of, and she had maxed out all of those doses. I met this woman during my family medicine clerkship, and like is the case for so many other patients with chronic pain, we didn’t have any great solutions for her.
Somebody down the line had tried prescribing her a drug for migraines, a drug she was taking more often than she probably should have, but that’s beside the point — she stopped taking it because suddenly it got too expensive. She had gone from paying about $4 a month to her drugstore charging her about $190.
It was hard to understand exactly why this happened, and the patient didn’t seem to know. Maybe she had lost her insurance, or maybe her insurance company no longer covered it. Whatever the reason, this price hike wasn’t something she could afford.
“It’s because of Obamacare,” her fiancé, whom she had brought along to the doctor’s visit, interjected. He crossed his arms and smirked.
Check out the rest of my blog post on KevinMD: Should doctors encourage their patients to get health insurance?