Two of the greats of science fiction and fantasy literature, Emma Bull (War for the Oaks and many others) and Steven Brust (the Vlad Taltos books and many others) have coincidentally gone for surgery at the same time. Emma had a thyroidectomy on August 8th to investigate a 4 cm nodule on her thyroid. Steve had a defibrillator implanted on Aug 22.
And yeah, neither of them are adequately insured. Because writing is an entrepreneurial, economically marginal arts career, and its practitioners are often not able to buy insurance on the "open" market, especially as they enter middle age. Most of the US writers I know rely on spouses with "straight" jobs for insurance. But Steve isn't married, and Emma is married to another writer, Will Shetterly.
Writer Scott Lynch published a name-your-price novel called Queen of the Iron Sands. He's announced that two thirds of the proceeds from this book will go to Steve and Emma.
He's done this off his own bat, without Emma or Steve asking for it, because they're not the sort of people who ask. But it sure sounds like they could use it.
Update: Steve Brust says,
This is very, very sweet, and I'm tremendously grateful for what Scott and everyone else is doing. But you need to know that, as of a couple of months ago, I DO have health care coverage–after the congestive heart failure, Those Who Decide Things decided I was partially disabled (which I guess is true; it's slowed my work down) and I'm now on MA, which is how I was able to get the surgery.
The surgery, incidentally went off without a hitch. I'm now a cyborg.
But to emphasize, I don't want to accept anyone's money under false pretenses; I am, at least for now, covered.
Which does nothing for how pissed off I am that so many others aren't.