Texas parents Ron and Krista Alford have been struck not once but twice with the tragedy of having a child with cancer.
Seven year old Hunter Alford and his older sister Makayla have both battled the rare cancer form Plexiform Hishocyne Neoplasm in their short lives. Makayla is now in remission, but young Hunter is still battling the disease.
His treatment was going well and doctors believe the child was making progress until the Alfords discovered that Hunter was dropped from Texas’ state run Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Hunter was enrolled in CHIP for the last year and a half. Under CHIP, families pay no more than $50 per year for basic insurance coverage. Unlike Medicaid, CHIP requires families to pay substantial amounts of money for prescriptions and co-pays when they visit the doctor. Nevetheless, the money the Alfords save through the program is a matter of life and death for their children.
Without the CHIP program, the Alfords are looking at chemotherapy treatments of up to $50,000 each for Hunter. As a middle class Texas family, this amount of money is impossible to come up with on their own.
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When Krista called CHIP representatives to figure out why her son was dropped, she was given a number of vague and confusing answers. At first she was told that her son’s file was lost, and that his drop in coverage was a glitch. A number of media outlets tried to blame the coverage drop on Obamacare, but a thorough look at Hunter’s case shows his loss of insurance has everything to do with the CHIP program and nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.
After relentlessly hounding CHIP representatives, Krista was told that her son lost his insurance because the family did not re-qualify for the CHIP program. How could they be disqualified after being enrolled in the program for so many years?
Ron, a police officer in Gainesville, Texas, made $173 more dollars last year than a family is allowed to make in order to qualify for CHIP. The cutoff for a family of four like the Alfords is $47,100.
“That was so upsetting, I couldn’t believe it,” Krista said. “I was trying to talk to her to figure out what was going on. My husband had overtime. He’s a police officer. They’re shorthanded. And so, he has to fill in when he can so he can protect our little bitty town of Gainesville.”
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Without insurance, the Alfords have been forced to set up a crowd-funding page to pay for Hunter’s treatment. Here is Hunter’s page at YouCaring.com. As of this writing, the family has raised $46,516 of their $100,000 goal. On a day where Americans are spending billions of dollars at malls and Walmarts across the country, a few thousand dollars could save Hunter’s life.