Is there a safety net?
Calling all legislators! What happens when someone gets cancer — loses their job but life goes on? What if you’re too sick to work, do you qualify for disability payments? Eventually, maybe, if you’re sick enough without hope of recovery! However, you must go 6- months without income to qualify. Do you have enough money to pay bills for six months without income? What if you have to choose between paying the electric bill or paying for food or purchasing medicine? Just the basics. If there are children, there are also expenses too.
How does one live without income? I had paid sick leave. There were still extra expenses. The everyday bills along with co- pays for chemo, doctors’ appointments ( of which there are many) and additional expenses for routine medications for blood pressure and such things. Some cancer patients also have other health issues chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart problems and other chronic health concerns like diabetes. Does life go on? Evictions? Utilities shut- off? Car repossession?
Yes, there are large cancer organizations that collect millions of dollars every year. Do they help patients who are in need of financial help? No. The American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen are two of the largest, best known organizations that collect millions of dollars each year. They also pay huge salaries to their CEOs. They spend millions on advertising and millions on the much needed research that produces the tests for better diagnosis, drugs for better treatment while looking for the causes that will increase our ability to prevent the incidence of cancer. But they do not provide funds to cancer patients to help them keep their home. They don’t pay for their medications nor provide money to help keep the lifestyle going so folks don’t sit in the dark when the electric company turns off the power due to lack of payment.
Sadly, state and federal legislators have not created a program to help us live while we fight for our lives. Unemployment says you must be able to work in order to collect from them. Welfare doesn’t give you enough to cover all your bills. Perhaps now is the time for our delegates, senators and Congressmen to develop such a program because there is no safety net.
There are no overly generous donators willing to fund an organization that will support someone for a year — pay their electric bill; give them free phone ser vice; provide food, clothing and maintenance medications. Think about this: Someone has a job or even a business and has a few thousand dollars in the bank. They see the doctor in May; go through tests in June; and get a diagnosis of cancer. In July they have surgery and recuperate in August. In September they start chemo which lasts about four to six months. Then a month of rest is followed by a month or two of radiation therapy that includes a daily trip to radiology Monday through Friday. Then, in some cases you are done — it’s been a year in hell! You are bankrupt with no home, car or job. There is no safety net!