Tenn. man highlighted in health reform ad

By: SUBMITTED
By: SUBMITTED

WASHINGTON (SUBMITTED) -- In an effort to focus attention on patients over politics in the health care reform debate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network™ (ACS CAN) is running a national television advertisement that illustrates the critical need for action this year on reform.

The ad is intended to refocus the debate on those who need comprehensive reform the most – patients – and to emphasize that Congress must pass health care reform this year that improves the health care system for families touched by cancer and other life-threatening chronic diseases.

“As the leading patient voice in the debate, ACS CAN is redoubling its efforts at the most critical moment in the health care debate to heighten awareness on the gaps that exist in the system for families affected by cancer,” said Daniel E. Smith, President of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “Congress must act now to deliver on meaningful health care reform because the cost of waiting any longer is too great.”

The ad tells the emotional story of Dan Brodrick of Gainesboro, Tenn., whose wife Sharon passed away more than a year ago from cancer. Sharon’s cancer was not caught in time due to a lack of access to care – care that could have saved her life. After Dan lost his job 10 years ago, Sharon sought insurance coverage but was denied by dozens of different companies because of a pre-existing condition due to thyroid myalgia.

In 2007, Sharon was diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the small intestine and underwent surgery. At that time, Dan called at the Health Insurance Assistance Service at the American Cancer Society’s National Cancer Information Center looking for insurance options. Although ACS does its best to help every caller, the unfortunate reality is that the Society is only able to assist 1 in 9 callers who contacts the organization for this type of help. She was able to receive some of her treatment through a charity care program, but her medical bills rose to more than $80,000. Tragically, Sharon succumbed to the disease in April 2008, with her family’s life savings depleted and Dan left to pay down the debt for the rest of his life.

The ad will begin airing Sunday, September 27, on the Sunday morning talk shows and will appear throughout the week on major national cable channels including CNN, Fox NewsChannel and MSNBC.

To see ACS CAN’s new television ad, visit www.acscan.org.

“The sobering reality is that tens of millions of families across the country are one cancer diagnosis away from financial catastrophe,” said John Chiaramonte, government relations director for the American Cancer Society in Tennessee. “We need to reform the health system to improve the lives of those with cancer and other chronic diseases so that no one goes through what Dan Brodrick and his wife did before she lost her battle with cancer.”

Brodrick, the Jennings Creek fire chief, has devoted himself to the fight for comprehensive health care on his late wife’s behalf. A passionate cancer advocate, he came to Washington in May to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and is active on the issue in Tennessee.

ACS CAN has engaged in an extensive multi-media campaign this year urging Congress to fix the broken health care system action now, not later. ACS CAN has been running print and online ads in support of reform in major Capitol Hill and national publications, and in July it took over all the advertising space in the Capitol South Metro station near the House of Representatives.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

(This information was submitted by The American Cancer Society.)


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