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Man with breast cancer denied Medicaid coverage because of his gender

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Breast cancer is not commonly associated with men, but according to CDC statistics, over 2,000 men, representing about one percent of cases, are diagnosed with the disease each year. Raymond Johnson, a twenty-six-year-old tile layer from South Carolina, is one of those men.

Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago, and doesn't receive health insurance through his job. A patient advocate from the Charleston Cancer Center, Susan Appelbaum, applied to a state program that provides Medicaid for breast cancer patients on Johnson's behalf, but Johnson was denied because he's a man. He recently underwent his second round of chemotherapy, which runs around $10,000 a treatment, and will need several more.

South Carolina's Dept. of Health & Human Services has complained to the federal government on numerous occasions that the policy is discriminatory, and it does appear to be gender discrimination, albeit the reverse of what we normally see. Medicaid can be fickle about which kinds of cancer they cover as well. Johnson, at the very least, should reapply to the program, and could be looking at a possible lawsuit. Things may be trickier considering the overall economic climate, but it would be unfortunate to see a decent, hardworking person financially devastated because of his DNA.