US District Judge Robert N Scola recused himself from a class action suit against Unitedhealthcare that alleges that Unitedhealthcare denied them promising proton beam cancer treatments by falsely claiming that they were "experimental."
In his recusal, Scola revealed that he was a prostate cancer survivor who was cornered into accepting surgical prostate removal because his own insurer refused the proton beam treatments his doctors recommended; he also discussed a friend whom Unitedhealthcare denied coverage to, presenting him with the prospect of a $150,000 bill (the friend successfully sued Unitedhealthcare).
The judge closed by calling Unitedhealthcare's refusal to cover proton beam therapy "immoral" and "barbaric."
The untenability of America's private, for-profit health-care system grows more manifest by the day, as more and more people are radicalized by the prospect of their own deaths and the deaths of those they love best in the world, at the hands of a bureaucratic death-panel run by an insurer whose execs and investors rake in millions by literally killing their customers. My latest book has a story in it about men in this situation who seek comfort on message-boards and end up egging themselves into murdering health care execs, lobbyists and their friendly lawmakers. I don't know that such a thing would ever happen, but reading the judge's remarks certainly suggests that we're closer than we suspected to it.
The federal judge made his comments in response to a class-action lawsuit brought by Richard Cole, a cancer survivor and prominent Miami attorney. Cole was 70 when he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in April 2018. "The first concern you have is: Am I going to die?" Cole said.
He said he consulted with his team of doctors at the Miami Cancer Institute and with others at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The consensus, he said, was that he needed proton beam therapy.
But he said he soon learned his treatment was being delayed because UnitedHealthcare refused to cover it. He paid the $85,000 out-of-pocket to undergo treatment as soon as possible while his attorneys appealed his denial.
"When delays occur because of bureaucracy," Cole said, "it gets you angry and upset."
Judge rips insurance company for 'immoral, barbaric' cancer denials [Wayne Drash/CNN]