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Monday, March 15, 2010

Wracked with worry: Loss of insurance for a cancer patient

Natoma Canfield is a 50-year-old cancer survivor, a cleaning lady from Medina, Ohio. She had written the White House in late December about her inability to afford insurance.

 Natoma's premiums had risen 25% in 2009. She had paid $6,700 in premiums in 2009, and more in copayments, and yet received less than $1,000 in insurance benefits. In light of that, and the likely rise of 40% in her premiums in 2010, she had dropped her policy.

White House officials had reached out to her last week and asked her to introduce Pres. Obama to the stage at a speech today promoting health reform. But days after the White House made the offer for the introductory slot, Natoma collapsed. Taken to an emergency room for tests, she was diagnosed with leukemia, and hospitalized.
"The reason Natoma is not here today is that she's lying in a hospital bed, suddenly faced with this emergency - suddenly thrust into a fight for her life. She expects to face a month or more of aggressive chemotherapy. And she is wracked with worry not only about her illness but about the cost of the tests and treatments she will surely need to beat it," Obama declared.

Advice: Consider if the same thing could happen to a friend with cancer, as you make up your mind on health insurance reform.

Read a story about a loss of insurance. Thanks to David Herszenhorn for the source story in today's New York Times, and Sam Stein in today's Huffington Post.

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