Saturday, August 6, 2011


This video made me very sad tonight. It's been floating around under various labels that amount to "Breast cancer patient denied health care because he's a man".

A few months before I was diagnosed, I was denied health care. I was working a great job - a government job - but I wasn't eligible for job-related health care because I was an intern. So, I applied to the local provider. They denied me coverage because of a few small health issues like mild asthma.

I moved after the job was over, and I was able to get health care at my new location, where the rules were different. I immediately, dutifully went for a checkup and my doc found my cancer.

Raymond, the man in that video, isn't being denied health care because he's a man. He's being denied health care because of a deeply broken American health care system.

Some of the comments on the video insist this guy should get more jobs - as if working multiple jobs were even an option when you're going through chemo, a uniquely physically devastating marathon.

I've met cancer patients who are fitness enthusiasts and couch potatoes, health nuts and partiers, 19 years old and 51. There is no personal culpability here. No 26-year-old should have to plan his life around the expectation that he'll get this disease. Cancer hits like a bolt from the blue and it doesn't give a crap how many jobs you have.