My father is visiting us here in Schenectady. While my he’s traveling, my mother is staying with my sister in Gettysburg. As some of you may know, my mother has some health problems, and as a result, is on serious pain medications.
Last night, my sister posted the following on Facebook:
Adventures in trying to get my mother’s pain medication (narcotic) refilled while she’s here visiting:
-Six calls to doctors offices-Six calls to the insurance company (two that resulted in having to ask for a supervisor)-Only one call to the insurance company that resulted in my hanging up on someone -Calls to six different pharmacies-Calls to six different urgent care facilities-Surprisingly, only one crying fit-Two calls to nurse navigator-Trips to two different urgent care facilities -Three calls to the pharmacy that finally has the prescription
And do we have it yet? No, because the insurance company screwed something up and refused to fix it in time for us to get it tonight.
Now, there’s no way that even a marginally free market could produce those results. The magic word included above is “narcotic.” My mother’s pain medication is a controlled substance. Controlled by whom? The government, of course.
Why? Well, every time I bring up the War on Drugs here on Ricochet, I’m basically told that we need to control drugs because of the destructive effects of addiction on individuals and families, or the costs to the public purse when people inevitably become addicted to a drug, lose their job, and go on welfare.
So let’s apply that idea here:
In order to protect my mother, a retired nurse, from the potential for addiction and to keep her from destroying her family, or to keep her doing losing her job and going on welfare, she has a hell of a time (and I think “hell” is a fair description here) getting pain medication.
Well, she’s retired, so she doesn’t have a job to lose, her illness does not lend itself to a long lifespan, and it’s the government controls, not the drugs, that’s causing her family stress.
Here’s the thing: While I have no doubt there are some people who pop pain pills recreationally (and let’s be real here, we’re talking about serious narcotics here, my mother has lung cancer), in order to keep those few people from popping pills, we make it so its hard for cancer patients to get pain medicine.
Does that make sense to you? Does it seem fair? Does it seem right?
Here’s the crux of the thing: The problem (one of many) with these kinds of restrictions is that they don’t just keep pills out of the hands of the people who use them recreationally, they also trip up people who have done nothing wrong, and who need them as medicine.
Now, I’ll hear from the nannies (and sorry, but that’s a fair term) who insist that they know what’s better for everyone else, that people popping drugs has negative consequences. Perhaps. But what about the negative consequences for my mother? Why is it difficult for her to get medicine? What did she do wrong to deserve this?