Every year 2,100 American men are diagnosed with breast cancer, which obviously means that breast cancer is not a "woman's disease." Yet the federal government still treats it as such, as Raymond Johnson—an official Man With Breast Cancer—can tell you.
Johnson, 26, learned he had breast cancer last month when he presented to his local hospital in Charleston, S.C. with terrible chest pains. After receiving his diagnosis and being discharged from the hospital, he applied for Medicaid. Supposedly he met all the eligibility requirements except the one that required him to be a woman, so his application was denied.
Because his job doing honest work laying tiling doesn't pay as much as, for example, a position as a union-busting Verizon executive does, due to American priorities, Johnson can't really afford to pay for his chemotherapy, surgery, and other medical expenses out-of-pocket. Now he's at risk of losing his entire livelihood. USA! USA!
"Cancer doesn't discriminate, so this program shouldn't discriminate," says Johnson, correctly. The state's Department of Health and Human Services supports his position, and wants the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to stop discriminating against male breast cancer patients. It's not the first time that reps of the South Carolina health agency have made this request of the feds; the last time, they received a response informing them that "Congress would need to change the law" before men were eligible for Medicaid's breast cancer coverage program. In other words, it's not looking too good for Raymond Johnson's wallet right now.