Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heirarchy of Needs

Everywhere I look this week the economic recession appears to be taking a back seat to the new hot topic, health care.
Articles regarding not only the uninsured, but the underinsured, are cropping up on the cover of Time, local papers throughout the U.S. as state budgets are announced and on MSN’s main home page.
The healthy state of America’s economy had apparently been camouflaging a public health problem for the first several years of the millennium.
Now, with the housing bubble burst, the fall of investment banks, and a national recession rivaling the depression, the sugar coating is gone from our society. Our rose colored glasses have been traded in for some clearer bi-focals.
The problems our country has been facing for years that were blanketed by the overall wealth of the United States can no longer be concealed.
The cost of health care, and the entire health care system, are among these problems.
Many of us are cutting our budgets back to “need only” buying. In our personal budgets, we are forced to determine what is a “want” and what is a “need” and buy to survive.
This idea is economics 101. I have all ready taught my 6 year old the difference between a need and a want. Clothing, food, and shelter come first. They are integral to survival.
Taking care of yourself will allow you to survive.
Along these lines, access to health care, doctor’s appointments, and medications are also needed to survive.
Maslow has a hierarchy of needs, which is illustrated through the use of a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid, the foundation, is what every individual needs to physiologically function: breathing, food, water, excretion homeostasis. The Second level is safety: security of body, of employment, of resources, of family, and of health.
Without obtaining the necessities within each level, a person cannot improve themselves to obtain a higher, more personally developed, and dare I say better, level.
A person that can not physiologically function can not seek safety. A person that is not physiologically functioning and safe can not accomplish love and belonging and so on and so forth until reaching the top of the pyramid, self actualization.
At the point of self actualization, the tip of the pyramid, is where problem solving occurs.
Within the second tier, in the realm of safety, is employment and health.
A massive change in feelings of safety in individual citizens will lead to their failures in other areas of the hierarchy.
Without the safety net of employment and health care, love and belonging and self esteem will be adversely effected.
Statistics show that the third most likely person to perpetrate domestic violence after drug addicts and alcoholics are the unemployed. Unemployment is demasculating and during periods of recession, reports of spousal abuse rise.
Unemployment rates positively correlate with the rates of domestic violence. In English, If unemployment rates go up so does the incidence of domestic violence.
This is just one example of how the recession is affecting our communities.
The possible effect of inaffordable, unaccessible health care is scarier.
The health insurance industry is constructed in a manner very similar to the structure of investment banks specializing in subprime mortgages.
Companies that sold subprime mortgages sold to people who would not qualify under Savings Bank’s standards. Experts and specialists sold to mortgages to people who otherwise could not afford what they were buying, were not aware of other options and/or the possible consequences of entering into the contractual agreement.
As we’ve seen, the consequences of these banks providing loans to people that did not meet lending standards were diffuse defaults on loans which had a resounding tidal wave effect that flattened the largest banks perpertrating this practice in its wake.
The government was forced to take over these companies.
These companies never would have been able to sell their product and begin this domino effect had they not used their intellect to convince their consumers what they were selling was safe and necessary.
The sale of Health insurance policies function in a similar manner. The consumer is assured they have the necessary coverage for their safety.
However, when a problem arises, the coverage often proves inadequate. It is difficult to simultaneously conquer the obstacle that requires the insurance money, whether it be the reconstruction of a house that was destroyed by flood or the health diagnosis of cancer, and fight the insurance company, which is the one place that can give you safety.
To publicly stand against an insurance company is to risk they will provide nothing towards the home you’ve lost or to the health care costs you need for survival.
The insurance company wins by default.
The insurance company holds the possibility of safety in their hands. If they are challenged, you risk losing something you need to survive.
This is the moral equivalent of holding my bone marrow hostage for my compliance. If I do not seek justice, then I will continue to receive my medical care. If I remain silent, the majority of my costs will be covered.
If I decide to take a stand and demand in a very public manner that the insurance company provides the safety net they stated to have sold me, I risk losing everything. I risk my stem cell transplant.
I don’t see how this is legal in America.
The policy is misrepresented at sale. This has happened when homeowners fought for coverage in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, see
More recently, March 16, 2009’s Time cover is dedicated to this scary reality. The article “So You Think You’re Insured” outlines how one man who had been dutifully paying for health insurance in 6 months increments was abandoned when his kidneys failed suddenly due to a blood test that showed kidney abnormalities during a previous 6 month period, placing him in the dreaded “preexisting condition” category, even though he was not diagnosed.
Most people, hard working, educated, employed, with 6 months of emergency savings are not safe. We are all one illness away from financial ruin.
It is estimated 50% of bankruptcies are due to illness. Please see Also see
These articles are from 2005. The current recession is picking the scab of a deep festering wound. Further cuts to the needs of Americans will cause this scab to fall exposing a deep wound.
There is hope. The problems within health care are now making headlines. The first step in any twelve step program for recovery is admitting there is a problem. I think most of us have admitted to the first step: America, we have a problem. Now we can work towards the solution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our family had to give MD Anderson a 210,000 letter of credit before our son could receive SGN35. We were told this on the day he was to receive the drug. This was stress one fighting for their life should not have to endure. So much for good insurance.How can we cure cancer if we can't be in clinical trials, because insurance won't cover them.