I have narcolepsy. There is no cure, but there is a medication that lets me live a normal life if I follow its precise schedule. It is the only medication of its kind, because of patents, and it costs thousands of dollars for a week's worth of medication, because there is no generic competition. I am forced to get this medication through insurance, or I would quickly go into debt just trying to stay awake and have a normal day. I have recently switched insurances. There will be a four-month gap between when I lost my old insurance, and when I will be able to see a new sleep doctor to re-prescribe the same medication. Then there will be extra delays as prior authorization decides if I am allowed to have the medication necessary to let me drive safely, hold a job, and experience life without constant debilitation.
I have been rationing my sleep medication, hoping to make it to the sleep doctor before it runs out. I am actively sabotaging my own health, hoping the system deigns me worthy to continue receiving care in a relatively timely manner, before I am non-functional. But soon I will be forced to switch insurances again--meaning a doctor visit, and a re-prescription, could be even further away, and my health may deteriorate further as I wait. Every day I do not take my medication, is a day I do not get restful sleep. After two weeks of not taking my full dose of medication, I would be unable to drive safely or perform at work. American healthcare, and prior authorizations, are forcing me to either go into debt, or put my safety and my job at risk.