American Cancer Society visits Stoddard to push for affordable cancer care

STODDARD, Wis. (WKBT) — The American Cancer Society says healthcare should be a right for all.

In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death.

“It’s hard for us to find an American family that hasn’t been impacted one way or another by cancer and having to battle that,” said Ron Kind, the Representative for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.

For those who survive, side effects from cancer treatment can create new health issues that require medical attention frequently.

“100 different medical conditions and symptoms and late effects from my treatment,” said Mariah Forster Olson, a cancer survivor from Galesville. “I see almost every specialty, I have diagnostics all the time, I’ve had 48 different surgeries.”

Olson was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was one year old. Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor that usually sits on top of a kidney.

“Mine grew out of my spine, wrapped around part of my heart and took up almost the entire right side of my chest,” she said.

Olson, who has since been treated for her cancer, now deals with the side effects of her treatment. Before she was covered under social security disability Medicaid and Medicare, Olson and her husband had a co-pay for her medications.

“In some cases, that was as high as $100 so when you take and get filled about 30 prescriptions a month, that really adds up,” she said.

The high cost of medication and co-pay caused Olson and her husband to go into credit card debt. She also began to skip doctors appointments.

“We could’ve missed some things in the past and there were things I should have gone in for but I didn’t,” Olson said.

The American Cancer Society says Wisconsin lawmakers should accept the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid to make healthcare affordable in the state of Wisconsin. The nonprofit says Congress should cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for patients in Medicare Part D.

“That’s one of the major cost drivers in the healthcare system,” said Kind.

Republican State senator Ron Johnson says he believes in a healthcare system based on consumer choice and free markets that will bring Americans the lowest possible price.

Olson says the answer is simple.

“Affordable healthcare should be a right in this county and not a privilege,” she said.

News 8 Now contacted Johnson for a comment but he was unavailable.

Recent News Headlines from News 8 Now 

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith visits La Crescent for tour of sustainability progress 

Goats on the Go service helps tackle invasive vegetation in eco-friendly way 

La Crosse LGBTQ+ Advocates Hope for Conversion Therapy Ban