While breast cancer is largely thought of as a female issue, The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,140 new cases of breast cancer in men are diagnosed each year. One 26 year old South Carolina resident, Raymond Johnson, is amongst this year’s batch of new breast cancer patients. Johnson works as a tradesman specializing in tile instillation, but is unfortunately uninsured and unable to afford breast cancer treatments on his own, instead depending on Medicaid and charity organizations to bridge the gap.
Passed in 2000, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment act allows low-income and uninsured patients to receive cancer treatment through Medicaid funding. As a South Carolina resident Johnson would be allowed to receive care under this act, but his gender renders him ineligible.
Even though cancer doesn’t discriminate based on gender, the description of the act give no mention to men with breast cancer, only singling out women as possible recipients. In a statement to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human services is urging for Johnson’s case to be reconsidered based on the act’s wording faux pas.
Without help from Medicaid, Johnson is unable to receive all the treatment necessary to deal with his illness. If his appeal doesn’t work, he might not be able to have full medical insurance coverage until 2014, when he is able to afford private insurance. Until that happens, Johnson is still concerned with how he’s going to afford treatment. “ I make $9 an hour, I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it.”