Confirmed victory

We need better access to cancer screenings during COVID

This petition made change with 23,308 supporters!

This petition comes from Sarah Kaehny, a cancer survivor and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. 

We’ve all been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, the pandemic meant that I lost my dream job, my health insurance, and the ability to afford the health care I need as a cancer survivor.

In 2012, I was diagnosed with stage 3 sarcoma. Is cancer scary? Sure. But the financial stress of health care is almost as bad as any diagnosis. After radiation and multiple surgeries, I am currently cancer-free. To make sure I stay that way, my doctor recommends I get a cancer scan every three months. For years, I’ve been diligent about getting these procedures. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, I was laid off from my job. Once unemployed, I couldn’t afford the COBRA health insurance from my former employer.  

As a cancer survivor, not having health insurance scared the crap out of me. To be in a situation where you have to choose between food and bills, and your health care, you choose food and bills. Keep food on the table, keep the heat on. But that meant that I had to skip the regular cancer scan that my oncologist recommended.

No one should have to make this kind of decision, but I know that I’m not the only one. In fact, from February to mid-April of 2020, the rate of some cancer screenings fell by over 80 percent.

Congress is currently working on a COVID relief bill, and they are considering including subsidies for COBRA insurance for people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. This could actually lower the cost of health care premiums for tens of thousands of people, including cancer survivors like me.

If this had passed months ago, I would have been able to keep my health insurance and avoid the stress of waiting to know if my cancer had returned. Please join me in asking Congress to include this provision and support lowering the cost of quality health insurance. Cancer survivors like me can’t wait.

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