Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm going to Capitol Hill like Michael J. Fox

Things have got to change in this country. And they're going to change. We're going to make them change.

I told you about Erbitux. Erbitux (generic name cetuximab) is a cancer medication that slows the growth of cancer cells. For me, it's part of the maintenance program I'm on to make sure that I remain cancer-free. I use a bag of it every week. I go into the doctor's office in Santa Monica and get an IV drip. It takes about an hour.

As I mentioned last week, each bag of Erbitux costs $4,000. The same bag of Erbitux costs four hundred and twenty five dollars in Germany, by the way. But I have insurance, so it doesn’t matter, right?

Well, this week I found out that my insurance company won't pay for the Erbitux because they consider me to be "cured." I called up and I told them this is part of my treatment. This treatment is keeping me alive and making sure I stay cancer-free. The guy said there's nothing they can do. I said, “There is something they can do.” And I told him, "You will pay for this. One of these days, you'll pay for this for everyone.”

There are people dying out there every day, and they can’t afford the medicines they need because insurance won’t cover them-- if they can afford insurance in the first place. As it is, when I go to a doctor, I have to pay for the visit out of my own pocket and then I have to submit the bill to the insurance company and try to beat it out of them.

Today, I get another letter: the insurance company says they won’t pay for a medicine because they say they don’t know what it has to do with treating my cancer!

Why am I paying for insurance?

I'm telling you, it got me going. I decided I want to go to Washington. I want to go to Washington, D.C. and speak before Congress. I want to look them in the eye and say, "Shame. On. You. Shame on you for not doing something about this. People are dying."

It’s a coincidence. I saw Michael J. Fox on TV. They showed him speaking before Congress. And he was making some really important points about Parkinson's and cell research. But I noticed he was reading from a sheet of paper.

I'm not going to read from a sheet of paper! I'm going to say it in my own words. I'm going to speak like I normally do-- I won't swear, though-- and I'm going to talk for all the people who are looking for help and help isn't available to them. Like many of the people who send me e-mails. I decided. I want to go to Capitol Hill.

McCain? Obama? All of them. They're going to hear from me. They're going to hear from us. All of us.