Man Enlists to Afford Wife’s Cancer Treatment

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A story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will surely invoke a range of emotions and underscores the need for health insurance reform. Mark Johnson reports on a 39-yeal-old recently-layed-off Watertown man compelled to enlist in the Army in order to receive the health care benefits that could take care of his wife’€™s cancer treatment.Bill Caudle is the selfless individual at the center of the story. The timeline of events leading up to his decision is pretty straightforward: in 2006 his wife Michelle is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and begins treatment; in March 2009 he loses his job; on his birthday in May 2009 he signs the enlistment papers; earlier this month he shipped out for basic training. He will be away from home for much of the next four years.

The scary part of the story’€”scary in the ‘€œthis could so happen to me’€ sense’€”is the breakdown of health insurance costs Bill and Michelle faced after getting laid off. From the Journal Sentinel:

The president’s stimulus bill was helping laid off workers pay for the health coverage they had while employed. Between this assistance and Bill’s severance package from PolyOne, the Caudles initially paid $136 a month for their coverage.

But in September, when Bill’s severance package ended, they would pay $497.

In January, when they would be on their own: $1,370.

Military service is always an admirable duty, to be sure. But no one should feel compelled to enlist for the reason Bill Caudle did.

Now, if you feel compelled to do something about ensuring everyone has access to health care show your support for the public option here.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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Cody currently oversees online communications, web development, and graphic design at One Wisconsin Now & the Institute, having served previously as Deputy Research Director.