KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Breast Cancer Patient Battles Insurer; Recession Burdens Charity Clinics

News outlets report on a patient's struggle to get coverage for cancer treatment and over-burdened charity clinics.

The New York Times has a 'Neediest Cases' series profile. "Rashidam Shakirova moved from Atlanta to New York in 2008 so she could earn more as a home health-care aide - $9 an hour instead of $7." At her new job, Shakirova was told health coverage would begin three months after her start date. During that time, she discovered a lump in her breast. She sought treatment at the end of the three months "but learned her that application had not been processed. She waited three more months, until March, to be added to the rolls of Atlantis Health Plan. ... Once coverage started, Ms. Shakirova, 56, was tested, and a biopsy found an aggressive cancer. Ms. Shakirova's doctor urged immediate surgery. But Atlantis suspected the cancer was a pre-existing condition. Thus began Ms. Shakirova's months-long effort to win coverage" (Barnard, 1/28).

Dallas Morning News: "As President Barack Obama continues the quest for an overhaul of the health care system, charity clinics bear increasing loads. They've largely been left out of the effort, they said. In the interim, the massive loss of jobs means the growing numbers of the middle class and even the upper class are without health insurance and showing up at charity clinics. … Across Texas, free clinics are increasing hours, and asking more medical professionals to volunteer" (Solis, 1/29).

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