Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keeping Abreast of Cancer: Double-Standard edition

When we hear that someone has been diagnosed with breast cancer, our immediate reaction is most likely to be "oh, poor Sally, hope they caught it early."

But what if it wasn't "Sally," what if it was "Steve?"

Our first reaction in that case would probably be "hunh?!"

Sad to say, every year about 2,000 men are diagnosed with the dread disease, accounting for about 1% of all cases. But it is breast cancer, regardless of the sex of the victim.

Well, make that should be "regardless of the victim's sex."

Because, thanks to a tip from FoIB Patrick P, we learn that Raymond Johnson, a 26 year old with no health coverage, just found out two horrible things:

First, that he has breast cancer.

And second, that even though there's a special Medicaid program for breast cancer victims, he's not eligible. That's right, the obscenely mis-named "Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act" is available only to those without the Y chromosome.

And it gets worse:

New rules promulgated by HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious require regular health plans to cover:

■ Well-woman visits
Screening for gestational diabetes for all pregnant women
Human papillomavirus DNA testing for all women 30 years and older
Annual sexually transmitted infection counseling for all sexually active women
Annual counseling and screening for HIV for all sexually active women
FDA-approved contraception methods, sterilization procedures and contraceptive counseling
Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, including costs for renting breastfeeding equipment
Domestic violence screening and counseling

But guess what?

There are no corresponding benefits for men. What about condom coverage? Or domestic violence screening for the estimated 835,000 male victims of domestic violence each year?

How come HIV screenings for men aren't covered?

Fair's fair.
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