When I got laid off last year and lost my health insurance, I learned, to my dismay, that the monthly cost of my generic anti-depressant at my local Vons was $300 a month. My therapist suggested I try Walmart, which is generally cheaper, and that took it down to $200 a month, which was better but still pretty awful. Then, after I'd paid that for a few months, a pharmacist there enrolled me in some kind of discount program, and it went down to $50 a month. At the time, I was overjoyed—$50 a month instead of $200 (or $300) is amazing.

But on Friday, after a recommendation from Planned Parenthood, I had an appointment with a local clinic that charges on a sliding scale and includes medication as part of the fee. They wrote me a three-month prescription and filled it onsite without any extra cost, which was, obviously, amazing. What was even more amazing, though, and not in a good way, was that the paperwork they gave me included the cost of the medication (i.e., what I what have paid were it not covered). And that's when I learned that a three-month supply of this drug that Vons charged me $300 a month for, and Walmart charged me $200 for, was.... wait for it.... $9.86. Let me just say that again. $9.86. Or a little more than $3 a month. Vons was charging 100 times what it's worth, and Walmart was only slightly better (even its discounted rate was more than 15 times what the medication was actually worth).

I know the medical pricing system in the U.S. is fucked six ways from Sunday, but honestly, this shocked me.