There’s been plenty of talk the social safety net this election year, so we thought we’d share an article on one possible cancer patient’s experience falling through the holes:
Deborah Thomas’ lifeline is a hastily written list of charitable organizations and medical specialists on the back of a sheet of old Christmas wrapping paper taped above her home computer.
One of them, she hopes, can help rid her of the tumor in her groin that has grown in just the last five months from the size of a walnut to that of a small football. Some doctor, she hopes, will do it even though she – and a quarter of Lee County – has no insurance.
“They said I needed a bone biopsy,” said Thomas, 53. “And I’ve been trying to get a bone biopsy ever since.”
Although the federal health reform law holds promise of eventually getting people like Thomas coverage, the part-time certified nursing assistant is an example of the law’s limitations.
Her situation with a potentially life-threatening illness also illustrates the difficulties people face as they try to access the overburdened charity care available to Florida’s 4 million uninsured.
Thomas does not get private insurance through her employer.
As an adult with no dependents she cannot qualify for Medicaid, something that will change when eligibility for that program expands in 2014.
She could buy her own coverage. But, with a $14,500 a year salary, she can’t afford it. And she now has a pre-exising condition – the growth – which insurance companies might not cover anyway.
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