On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars speak with a married father of one who has spent over ten years as a biologist and environmental protection specialist, planning large scale projects to minimize environmental impacts for several federal agencies. John (not his real name) was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in March and he’s now found himself stuck in between massive gaps in our healthcare system and an out-of-control drug war.
John tells us about his initial diagnosis, a diagnosis that came many months late because of his inability to get the care he needed in a timely fashion. This delay in care happened despite him having some of the best health insurance available as a federal employee. Once diagnosed, John tells us about how he was forced to continue working full-time so as not to lose his life insurance or health insurance policies. Without life insurance, his family would be severely impacted if he should die, and without health insurance, he could not afford the care required to keep him alive. If he were to get insurance on the private market, it would be too expensive to afford, even with his current salary, and the benefits would be severely limited compared to what he currently has.
John also tells us how he is at risk for losing his job (hence the pseudonym) because of his use of medical marijuana, the only treatment that has allowed him to deal with the horrible effects of his cancer and chemotherapy treatments. There are strict rules against federal employees using medical marijuana, even if they work in states where it is legal. Recently, it was announced that random drug-testing would be extended to all federal employees, putting John at-risk for losing his job, his healthcare, and his life insurance. We discuss the pharmaceutical industry’s role in fighting the legitimacy of medical marijuana, as well as their role in perpetuating skyrocketing healthcare costs. We also discuss the importance of writing to government officials to speak out on behalf of John and those in a similar position who are denied life-saving treatment, whether due to cost or due to our indefensible drug laws.
Look for a story from Roqayah in Shadowproof on John’s situation shortly!