As politicians on both side of the aisle wait on their checks from the pharmaceutical and health insurance companies to clear so they can vote on health care reform there are people out there literally begging for their lives to be spared.

Such is the case for Freddie Effinger, who nearly died two years ago after discovering a “bizarre pain” in his upper thigh that couldn’t be properly dealt with because he didn’t have health insurance.

As reported in the Huffington Post Effinger was told that it was probably some sort of mass and that it matter (described as nothing serious) and would be removed surgically in September.

But as fate would have it, doctors discovered something far more serious and sadly Effinger didn’t have insurance. Like many post-college graduates, insurance companies drop them following graduation. In many cases – like mine – I almost had to send proof on enrollment every few months as the insurance company wanted to boot me much earlier.

Without insurance, Effinger’s condition grew worse.

Arthur Delaney of The Huffington Post writes:

But when they operated, Effinger's doctors discovered something more serious.

‘The tumor was the same size as my hand,’ Effinger told the Huffington Post. ‘And directly underneath that tumor was another tumor, and further down my leg was another tumor.’

The following month, an oncologist told Effinger he had advanced stage lymphoma. The oncologist told him that his chemotherapy could cost tens of thousands of dollars per session, and that he would need 12 sessions. Effinger panicked.

‘My mom's a schoolteacher and my dad's a juvenile detention officer,’ Effinger said. ‘They're good people, but that's not going to happen.’

Effinger scrambled to find insurance to no avail. Fortunately, with no income he qualified for a charity program at St. Vincent's East in Birmingham, Alabama. Yet Effinger still owes some $9,000 for parts of his treatment on top of the $100,000 he owns in student loans. Student loan debt collectors tend to be about as kind as Satan when hell gets a breeze, but they’ve actually been nicer to him than the people hounding him to pay back medical fees.

Now that he’s become an advocate for health care reform Effinger makes his feelings clear:

"I'm a pretty humble guy, but it's really demoralizing to have to beg a hospital for your life, to be to be able to be treated for this thing you just found out that you had. I don't just have a right to be healthy? I have to beg for it? I have to show that I am poor? It's frustrating. It's embarrassing. It's really unacceptable."

It’s time like these where I want to sing a Cuban remix to “Oh Canada.”

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