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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cancer v. the Constitution

The patient in the emergency department smelled of advanced cancer. It is the smell of rotting flesh, but even more pungent. You only ever have to smell it once.
She had been bleeding irregularly, but chalked it up to “the change.” Peri-menopausal hormonal mayhem is the most common cause of irregular vaginal bleeding, but unfortunately not the only cause.

She hadn’t gone to the doctor because she had no health insurance. The only kind of work she could get in a struggling rural community was without benefits. Her coat and shoes beside the gurney were worn and her purse from another decade. She could never afford to buy it on her own. She didn’t qualify for Medicaid, the local doctor only took insurance, and there was no Planned Parenthood or County Clinic nearby.
Read the entire excellent but disturbing article about our healthcare system the rich don't see by Doctor Jen Gunter here. Also read the comments on the article with many similar stories. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm one of those disabled people who until October or November do not qualify for Medicare, even though I'm on Social Security Disability Insurance. Because the 31 years I spent working at decent jobs, my SSDI payments disqualify me for Medicaid. As a result, for six months last year I was without health insurance, incurred a $13,000 hospital bill (which luckily was forgiven by the hospital), and had to pay full price for medications and doctor visits.

    In December I was finally eligible for RI's pre-existing condition insurance (you have to be 6 months without insurance to qualify--which I do not understand), and have been sending $439 monthly to Blue Cross--the only carrier for this insurance in RI. Two days ago I got a notice that BCBSRI is increasing my premiums to $479 effective May 1.

    To be honest, I consider myself lucky to at least have insurance. But I admit to being really resentful at those who think that the health care industry (and health insurance) is OK as it is. And I'm resentful that someone receiving any kind of disability payments cannot get reasonably priced health insurance.

    This story is all too true. A woman in the building where I live was recently told by Medicaid that she may lose her benefits. She is a breast cancer patient and disabled. She is in a similar situation--not yet eligible for Medicare. How on earth will she get treatment if Medicaid is taken away?

    But this is how it is.



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