In a nationwide outpouring of prayer and support since Thanksgiving Day, Americans have donated more than $41,000 to a 7-year-old Texas boy with a rare type of cancer who lost his insurance coverage after the Oct. 1 Obamacare launch.
The Thanksgiving response came after the Drudge Report linked the WND story. Donations at the time totaled $11,000. Now they are over $55,000.
As WND reported, Gainesville, Texas, residents Ron and Krista Alford have two children, Hunter and his sister, Makayla, who were both born with an extremely rare form of cancer called Plexiform Hishocyne Neoplasm.
The parents said their children “have known nothing other than hospitals, doctors, sickness and pain.”
Makayla is currently in remission, but Hunter has been in the second fight of his young life against cancer.
He was recently hospitalized and needs another round of chemotherapy, which will cost at least $50,000 without insurance, leaving his parents at their wit’s end because the family of four survives on a small-town police officer’s salary.
According to the “Angels for Hunter” Facebook page, a benefit in Hunter’s honor will be held Jan. 4, 2014, at 6 p.m. at the KC Hall in Gainesville, Texas. The event will include a raffle, auction, music, cash bar and food.
Hunter was previously insured under the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Texas, or CHIP. But the children were suddenly dropped from their insurance without explanation while Hunter was undergoing a series of chemo treatments.
Outpouring of support
Since WND published Hunter’s story Nov. 27, tens of thousands of dollars in private donations have been flooding in to help the family.
Readers touched by the family’s story donated funds for the chemotherapy and left hundreds of comments, including the following:
- “Lord, have mercy on Hunter and his family!”
- “Keep your faith in prayers, and God will answer.”
- “Good luck with all of this. And, thanks, liar Obama.
- “God bless you and your family – despite all the curve balls of health care ‘reform.’”
- “I hope and pray that Hunter gets well. I couldn’t imagine coming into the world sick with cancer. … I have a son and would want help too if he were sick. May the Lord bless and keep him safe. I also would like to pray for Hunter’s sister’s health as well. God be with you all.”
- “We will pray that God will heal Hunter and use his life in a mighty way.”
- “We are sorry you are having to go through this – but you are not alone! God bless you!”
- “Dear Hunter, we are praying for you and your sister and your family. The Lord is well aware of your family’s situation! He can do more for you than any insurance policy you can ever find. Friends and family can make the difference. May God get the glory for what’s happening in your lives!”
- “I am so sorry to hear about this situation. I guess we are finally finding out about what’s in the health care bill now that we passed it. Praying for you, Hunter.”
- “This is an opportunity to show that everyday citizens together are capable of handling what the government is obviously incompetent to do.”
- “May we all be thankful to our God and for our American spirit, because charity begins at home with the individual and not with a federal, state, or local government.”
- “Hunter, I am a retired police chief and now work with injured and disabled veterans. We are Christians, and we love Jesus. We are praying that God touches your heart and your body. He loves you and is with you if you just believe. God be with you Hunter. We are very proud of you.”
- “I’m so sorry you are going through this. We have also lost our health insurance due to the changes in the law, but we are fortunate to have our health. Little Hunter seems like such a brave young man, and I pray for remission for Hunter and for all of you to keep your faith and have peace during this crisis.”
- “This is a wonderful way for people to help people. We can no longer rely on any help from the government, only harm. We must look out for each other if we are to survive.”
- “You are not alone. Americans everywhere are praying for you.”
- “This is how it should be anyway. People need to voluntarily take care of one another, and not rely on useless and broken government programs.”
- “You’re so brave, Hunter. I really am impressed by that, and I know God is too! Can’t wait to see that beautiful head of hair you’ll grow once you’re done with all that chemo.”
- “God heals all our diseases. By Jesus’ stripes, Hunter is completely healed in Jesus’ name. By the power of the blood of Jesus, Hunter is completely healed!”
Many stories, little explanation
WND detailed the numerous and confusing reasons given for the insurance cancellation in the previous report.
According to Krista, the insurance company initially told her that Hunter’s information was lost while it was making changes required under the newly implemented health-care law. Unsure of why the policy was dropped, she suspected the company might be confused.
“They sent me a letter asking me why Hunter was being hospitalized, and if he had been in an accident,” she explained. “I sent back a letter saying that he has cancer, a very rare type of cancer, and that he is seeking chemotherapy.”
She told WND she hopes it is just one big bureaucratic blunder.
Even though she had not seen the specifics of Hunter’s case, Texas Health and Human Services Communication Director Stephanie Goodman claimed the problem was not caused by the Affordable Care Act.
However, Goodman also appeared to contradict that claim by confirming to Harris that the department has had problems as it made transfers to prepare for the new health-care law.
Once Goodman located Hunter’s case file she got back to Krista and, without being able to divulge details, appeared to indicate the Alfords do not meet the financial standards for CHIP.
For a family of four, the cutoff is $47,100. She said the state re-evaluates family income every six months when families reapply for coverage.
However, Krista told WND that Hunter had been covered for a year and a half without ever having to reapply for coverage, and she was never notified that she had to reapply for coverage.
When Harris asked Goodman about canceling Hunter’s treatment in the middle of his chemotherapy, she said there are Medicaid plans, other than CHIP, that allow patients to stay covered during treatments such as chemotherapy, even if the family’s income changes.
That may be true, but Krista told WND she has been frustrated at every turn while trying to get coverage reinstated for Hunter.
Goodman claimed again that the problem was not related to the implementation of Obamacare, but her description of what happened indicated something in the process had changed since the law went into effect. It would appear that something was what likely caused Hunter to lose his insurance.
Goodman said her department (HHSC) wasn’t required to, but chose to, transfer cases in preparation for the advent of Obamcare. There were some “glitches” in coverage when that happened, she said.
One of the “glitches” apparently caused a little boy with cancer to lose his health insurance.
Concerned individuals may contact Texas Health and Human Services ombudsman using the online submission form or by calling (877) 787-8999.
To send a message to Hunter visit the Angels for Hunter website.