Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bottle Caps for Chemo

health care, reform, cancer, children
(Subtitle: Why We Need Some Kind of Health Care Reform)

A friend of mine called me last night asking me to save the caps from 2 litre and 20oz bottles. She is a nurse at a local hospital and they are conducting a bottle cap drive. For every 1,000 bottle caps they collect, a child gets a free chemo treatment.

Immediately, my thought was that you could get me to do almost anything by invoking children with cancer, and collecting bottle caps is easy, so no big deal.

Then I realized that the whole thing made me angry. Why is it that in the United States of America, bottle caps need to be collected to make sure a child gets life saving medical treatment? Is that not the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard?

My coworkers made my anger even worse. They agreed to give me bottle caps to give to my friend, but not without saying things like, "Why do we need to do this? If you get cancer, you automatically get health insurance. I don't even think this is real."

Sorry, it's real. No, you don't automatically get coverage just because you got cancer. Not even if you're a child. A look at some statistics, if you don't believe me.

A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses. Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.

A new survey shows that more than 25 percent said that housing problems resulted from medical debt, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.

About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.

A survey of Iowa consumers found that in order to cope with rising health insurance costs, 86 percent said they had cut back on how much they could save, and 44 percent said that they have cut back on food and heating expenses.

Just to make matters worse, even debating health care reform has become dangerous in this country:

Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) will not be hosting any town hall events this August -- instead, he's making himself available to constituents for one-on-one meetings about health care reform -- and at least part of the reason is this: His offices have received threatening phone calls, including at least one direct threat against his life.


  1. Is it the wrong time for the obligatory, "Won't somebody think of the children?"

  2. You know, it's time we took that back. From now on, "the children" are a wholly owned subsidiary of the liberal atheist movement.

  3. This is why the hospitals that do provide free medical treatment for children are so desparately needed. Though it is a crying shame we need them to begin with. If we can't take care of our kids? That makes us all monsters.

  4. None of this makes a bit of dogdamn sense.
    "If you give us bottlecaps, we'll give a kid chemo." Um, OK. Why not just give the poor little bastard chemo anyway, so I don't have to drink something that's going to make me need chemo (again) someday?

    "If you get cancer, you automatically get health insurance." Yeah. Because our medical system is all about keeping people alive, and not making money. That's totally what it's about. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but whoever said that has less of a fucking clue than I do.

    Thanks, now I'm pissed off too.

  5. I have no idea what the whole bottle caps thing is about. My friend didn't seem to either. I suppose she could be scamming me to get bottle caps- wait, maybe she knows something?

  6. I ran into that, too, and then asked her about it. She apologized, but apparently, there's an interesting, purely local, addendum to the story.

    About 2 years ago, when that urban legend started going around, people were dropping off garbage bags full of bottle caps at the local hospitals. A local business titan (yes, even NEPA has them) heard about, and decided to fund a charity with the purpose of providing funds for local children with cancer and their families. Local businessman must have gotten either a lot of tax writeoff or a lot of good press (unusual for him), because it's quite well funded and provides a lot of help to local families who've just gotten the worst news ever.

    I guess that's an urban legend win. I still think we shouldn't be depending upon businessmen with sleazy reputations to provide for sick kids.

  7. My company has been collecting caps and have helped 3 people get free hours of treatment. Now we need a connection to more people in need. If you have info on caps for treatment please email Thanks.

  8. Wow what an asshole... I guess you do know you're place in hell dick


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