I really don't know how a person in my position would be able to manage having stage IV lung cancer, or any serious long-term illness for that matter, without health insurance, access to great doctors and support from staff within the system.
Every month I call my oncologist's office and speak to the person in charge of prescription refills to get my oral chemotherapy medication for the following month. I was told to call them when I have five days of meds left to give them enough time to deliver the pills to my oncologist's office. Earlier this week, I made the usual call and later in the day received a message saying there was a "complication with my insurance company" and that I would receive a call the next day. It turns out that the cost of my medication increased 5% and my insurance company declined the claim. [In dollars, that's from $14,000 up to $14,700/month.] Of course, I automatically got upset...angry that the price went up so much...frustrated that my insurance company declined to pay... felt hassled that I'd have to get on the phone to appeal to my insurance company...and worried that I wouldn't get my refill prescription in time.
But that's not how it was for me, who is lucky enough to be in a system that can turn such potential problems into minor glitches. The person in charge of prescription refills in my doctor's office immediately made the needed phone call and pushed the papers for an appeal. A day later, the approval came through and I picked up my meds without missing a dose.
I realize how fortunate I am. Not only am I getting state-of-the-art medical care in clean and safe environments, I'm in a system that is, seemingly, trying to minimize as many hassles as possible. I also realize that my experience is not the experience for many cancer patients, but I sure wish it was...for everyone...privileged and disadvantaged.