East Coast Rx Express — Shirley McClain — Fayetteville, North Carolina

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Shirley McClain works with the rural poor, and can see right away what happens to people who have no health care. "I can see the results – the eyes, the teeth. They’re poor. They have to make a choice between food and medication."

Shirley is a former school teacher who raised three children. After living in Michigan for several years, she returned to North Carolina in 1979. As executive director of a non-profit, the North Carolina Hunger Network, Shirley now has her own problems affording health care coverage. She has, for example, no prescription drug coverage, and is at 59 is not old enough for Medicare. She has been diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure and is paying $1,200 a year for medications to treat them.

"There are thing I can do to make it better," she says, like diet and exercise. But still, it is a drain on her finances. So when she heard about the Rx Express, "I said ‘Wow!’" She is hoping, when she arrives in Toronto, to get medications for those ailments for 60 percent of the U.S. price.

Shirley, who is a member of the North Carolina Committee to Defend Health Care, also wants to make a statement: that health care is a right. "We need health care that is affordable," Shirley says. There are numerous things the government can do, including bulk purchasing, which brings down the cost of medications.

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