Health Care and a Health Scare – Part 2

Insurance for All Needed More Than Ever

Credit: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ

I wrote the first article with this title back in July 2018. I explained that I had received a radiation pellet treatment for prostate cancer and that the outcome would not be fully known for some time. Two years later I have been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in lymph nodes outside of the prostate. This is a more dangerous situation in which the cancer has spread. Only one third of men diagnosed with cancer that has spread outside the prostate will survive beyond five years.

I would never have known anything about my developing cancer situation if I did not have health insurance. Because I have insurance, I was initially diagnosed and treated. I have been monitored since then and subsequently diagnosed and treated for cancer that has spread (metastasis). The PSA test (prostate specific antigen) is the monitoring tool for any progression of this cancer. My PSA level went down as predicted after the initial radiation pellet treatment but shot way up later. I was given a bone scan and a pelvic CT scan which revealed nothing. Fortunately, there is a more sophisticated CT scan at UCLA Medical Center. That scan showed cancer in my pelvic lymph nodes.

Once armed with this knowledge, oncologists targeted the cancer with two procedures. The first was a hormone treatment called “Lupron.” This is a chemotherapy that removes testosterone. Testosterone is necessary for prostate cancer cell development. The second was targeted radiation treatments to the cancerous lymph nodes. Daily treatments over a five-week period was the process. My PSA level went down to zero after the completion of these treatments. This is the intended result so far.

Once again, I would never have known any of this if I did not have health insurance. Statistically, I would be dead, or soon to be dead without these procedures. By the time someone feels sick from prostate cancer, successful treatment is not likely. Prostate cancer is the second most lethal cancer, after lung cancer, in men. Colon cancer is number three.

The out-of-pocket cost for all my procedures to date would be approaching $150,000. With the insurance I have, my out-of-pocket cost has been about $10,000. I mentioned in the first article that I did not have health insurance until I was 56. I am just lucky that I ended up with a job that includes insurance before it was too late for me. I am still the same American worker I was before. Should other patriotic hard-working Americans like me be allowed to die for a preventable condition? Millions of our citizens are in that exact spot. We are the wealthiest industrialized nation in the world and the only one that does not have national health care for all its citizens.

We hear certain politicians call health care for all Americans “socialism.” It would be a social program in our democracy, just like public schools, police and fire departments, libraries, the military, the Coast Guard, taxpayer-funded roads, Social Security, Medicare, and national, state, and local parks. Do not forget that the loudest advocates in government against health care for everyone receive taxpayer-funded health insurance (socialism). I will remind all the senior citizens who do not believe in socialism to send back their Social Security checks and pay cash for all their medical needs. After all, smart capitalists should have already saved up enough for their retirement.

The examples I have mentioned show that we are already a socialist democracy. Health care for everyone will make us a more productive nation. Truly small businesses will be able to start up and thrive without the health-care burden. People will not have to choose between working for the government or a large corporation in order to get affordable health care. We can return to being a nation of creative individual entrepreneurs and businesses. All we need is health care for every citizen like the rest of the civilized world.


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