Yet another reason for health care reform

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Via Atrios comes this Murray Waas piece, which is more about journalism ethics than health care. Nonetheless, here’s Ezra’s take:

Elsewhere, my friend Murray Waas’s rebuttal to Washington City Paper’s shameful attempts to turn his survival of cancer into some hack bit of pop-psychology is powerful and affecting. I’ll note that cancer drove Murray, then a Pulitzer-prize finalist journalist, into bankruptcy. with all the stigma that carries. One of the City Paper reporters actually accused him of being “a deadbeat cancer survivor.” And the award for Most Extraordinary Display of Prickishness in Pursuit of an Article goes to….

I’ve spoken to Murray more recently about insurance costs and they are, for him (and all others who’ve once been sick), not cheap. Is there anything humane about a health care system that strains to price out those who’ve been unlucky enough to avail themselves of its services? We have a massive, miraculous industry devoted to healing paired with a massive, malicious industry devoted to making such miracles unaffordable to those likeliest to need them.
(emphasis mine)

Ezra’s post is titled “Luck,” and expands on one of the most problematic factors in treating patients in America. We’re all one cosmic roll-of-the-dice away from needing the most cutting edge, expensive treatments available, as Waas writes:

The last comment is offensive not just to me but probably millions of other cancer survivors. The canard is that somehow people who have had cancer brought it on themselves. It is one of the most hurtful things you can say to someone who has battled the disease.

Not only are you unlucky when you’re stricken with a disease like cancer, but, as Ezra says, you’re further punished if you manage to actually survive. Once you’ve got that pre-existing condition, that’s the ball game: no more access to affordable insurance. If, like Waas, you are forced to declare bankruptcy due to your battle, well, even better!

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