On Cost and Cancer in America
A Twitter conversation on the financial devastation that often follows a cancer diagnosis in the US, where treatment is expensive—and even those fortunate to have jobs and health insurance can be crushed by medical debt.
- Skimming headlines yesterday, I read a "feel-good" cancer news item making the rounds about a 6-year-old boy in Texas who helped his father pay for cancer treatment by opening a lemonade stand.
- Downright Dickensian.
- Responses flowed in from cancer survivors who have personally experienced the injustice of cancer costs in America.
- She's right. Depending on the provider, the drug, and the patient's insurance coverage, $10K might even buy you just one chemo infusion. Or half of one. And chemotherapy typically requires a lot more than one infusion.Helen Walters points out that the issue has broad cultural impact, too:
- A number of my followers shared their personal stories linking job struggles and cancer struggles. For many, insurance is inextricably linked with employment. And employment in America is anything but secure.
- Your home or your life. Choose one.
- Here are my wrists, a few days ago. When I walked in to the chemo clinic, before they hooked me up to my drip I was presented with a bill for more than a thousand dollars: my out-of-pocket, after insurance. I get a bill every two weeks, each time I go in for an infusion.
- I joke to my friends that I wear the wrist-band because I "HOPE" I can figure out how to cover all of the costs of my treatment—and the drugs needed to deal with the side effects of that treatment.
- It's really hard on older Americans, at or past retirement age.