I’m Not Oprah, But What I Know For Sure

Whatever you think about The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, there is one, sad fact I know for sure.  If you’re a cancer patient with no health insurance, the road ahead is painful and difficult.  Pardon my considerable understatement.

I may not be Oprah, but I’ve often had the opportunity to see what many people, fortunately, don’t get to see –  what can happen to people who are sick, very sick, with little money and no insurance.  I’m not talking about the flu here that can knock your socks off for a week.  I’m referring to cancer patients who need drugs and expert medical care to save or at least, improve the quality of their lives.

As an oncology representative and national trainer for a pharmaceutical company, requests from doctors for free drugs to treat their patients was not uncommon.  If people were destitute, they were all right, meaning the pharmaceutical company would supply free drugs.  But, the people who had jobs with no health insurance, maybe owned a home and basically lived hand to mouth, those were the ones who truly fell through the figurative cracks in the healthcare system.  They often took on enormous medical expenses by themselves. They’d apply for a second mortgage on their homes, max out their credit cards and borrow money from family and friends.  What else could they do.

After coming close to being fired for asking my company to provide free drugs to a doctor caring for a cancer patient, I know one more thing for sure.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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