Breast cancer has been a topical issue for many years now, mainly because it affects all genders, though a lot more women, and the outcome is sometimes dismal despite gruesome treatments. These include surgeries and chemotherapy and palliative care.
Many Americans have lost the battle with cancer and a good number have conquered it. Thanks to intense treatments and screening measures that have aided early diagnosis. New drugs and new treatment regimens have helped us see some success in this arena.
Coverage Not For Male Cancer Patients.
I disagree with the idea of male patients being denied Medicaid coverage for cancer treatment. Medicaid health insurance program was established for low-income and disabled American. It was established by federal law for all American to benefit from and not a selected subgroup.
Limited income and certain eligibility requirements are to be met by applicants. Despite income level being one of the fundamental principles on which Medicaid was set up, there are people who have limited income but are still being denied Medicaid. A recently in the news the case of Raymond Johnson gained publicity. This is a 26 year-old construction worker who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He was reported to have been denied Medicaid coverage for the payment of his cancer treatment cost. In the state of South Carolina patients who are ineligible for state or federal health insurance programs are also encouraged to apply for coverage under the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act. The Act was signed into law in 2000 by President Clinton and uses Medicaid funds to cover the treatment of patients with breast and cervical cancer. These patients according to the act are mostly women between the ages of 47 and 64 but not men.
Eligibility Criteria Considered.
The use of eligibility criteria such as income level, age, residential status and individual’s assets to help determine a patient’s eligibility for Medicare is quite understandable. Looking at the case of Johnson, he is a construction worker who earns $9.00 an hour with recently diagnosed of breast cancer.
One cannot help but wonder how would he foot the medical bills coming his way. He has to pay his rent or mortgage, auto payment if he is a car owner, and take care of his other responsibilities including social and family obligations while in pursuit of the same “American Dream” we all talk about. On a $9.00 an hour income a diagnosis of cancer is a far from pleasant surprise. This situation can usher in an emotional and financial crisis for not just Johnson but for an average American family earning the median salary based on national averages. Take a look at page 5 of this National Census Bureau publication.
Discrimination in Coverage.
The question is why are men not eligible for coverage? In a press release by Jeff Stensland, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services he said ” We are in conversation with the Federal Government on this issue,” Stensland said they saw it as clearly discriminatory, and they believed it was a good example of an overly rigid interpretation a law that was designed to help patients with these cancers.
The press statement was released as more dissent was coming to the fore because of the discrepancy in the law guiding Medicaid coverage for male patients as a whole. There is hope that the Medicaid law will be amended to cover male patients soon.
Since passage of the act in 2000 by President Clinton, there have been one amendment by President Bush. We hope more amendments are coming to address men and their non-inclusion.
Our Cheer Leaders Need to Be Covered too.
In the past years women have pioneered the cause of cancer, they have led large-scale crusades to raise funds, improve awareness and increase research for the cure of cancer. Men have also been supportive of the cause. With our present disposition towards equality, we should put our money where our mouth is and review this “constitution-violating regulation” so that men would enjoy these same benefits.
Do you think adjustment of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act should be made to accommodate Male Patients?