July 24th, 2009
12:23 PM ET
11 years ago

King: Uninsured 23-year-old battles leukemia, medical bills

 A nurse takes blood from Gregory Rose, who has leukemia.

A nurse takes blood from Gregory Rose, who has leukemia.

ARLINGTON, Texas (CNN) - To begin with, Gregory Rose didn't have health insurance. Plus, it was finals week. So his first instinct was to ignore the pain.

A walk across his apartment convinced him otherwise.

"My hip was like on fire, grinding" is how he recalled the morning seven months ago that changed everything. "I know pain, and I've never felt that kind of pain before," Rose said.

At the hospital, a blood test with startling results: a dramatically elevated white blood cell count. He had leukemia, at 23.

Rose had no health insurance because he was too old to be covered on his parents' policy and too young and seemingly healthy to think he needed it.

So count Rose among the estimated 47 million Americans who lack health insurance, and as a resident of a state with the highest percentage of uninsured: Nearly one in four Texans do not have health coverage.

Full story

Filed under: Health care • State of the Union
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. mike,texas

    Health care is for the rich in this country.Its time to change the gaurd in Congress. No to incumbents who stall national healthcare for what another 60 years

    July 24, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Melissa

    And this would be a great example of why health care is needed.

    As for the illegals, they're here illegally and a burden on the system. I care about people but frankly, they should be refused. The reason why the illegals are here is because people allow it by giving them jobs and free care off the books.

    July 24, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    And republicans are against a public option? These are the kinds of stories going on across the whole country. I've been uninsured for 9 years and I dread going to a doctor simply for the fact I may find our I have something wrong with me which could have been prevented if I had coverage. The situation is no longer tolerable and something needs to be done about insuring every American as soon as possible.

    July 24, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Sarah

    God Bless the U$A

    July 24, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. machtim akannah

    The entire story is not told. It is indeed unfortunate to be too old to be covered by your parents and to believe you are so healthy that you don't need insurance because you can't afford it. On the other hand, health insurance should be a budgeted necessity in order to be covered. I wonder if he has a cell phone, flat screen TV, or other expensive toys?

    July 24, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Tyran

    HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! Right now when we are "supposed" to be concerned with the state of our healthcare, the American people once again allows coroporate media to distract them with a non important "race-issue". Blacks and whites have different viewpoints when it comes to police, and Obama was just speaking his mind, THAT'S IT!!! We need to stay focused American people, WE DON'T TIME FOR THIS PARTISAN MESS!!!

    July 24, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    Did Obama write this for you ?
    Coverage is available if he had wanted it.

    July 24, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. KLS

    I say lets stop using taxpayer's money for the excellent health care all the people in Congress receive!!!! It's time for them to find their own health care plans just like the rest of America. I would make an exception to any of our presidents and vice-presidents but that's it.

    Everyone should email, write or call their representatives in Congress and demand they stop wasting OUR money on their health care. I did just that this morning!

    July 24, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Hey Dutch, it's just a thought, Maybe you should sell the PC and buy some coverage.

    July 24, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. d1120

    Priorities, people.....a cell phone is not a priority, insurance should be.

    July 24, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. No More Cheney

    Republicans oppose health care for all americans because they only care about themselves and filling their own coffers; though, they easily approve of unnecessary, illegal wars and squandering our country's wealth tearing down and then, re-building other nations.

    July 24, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Lee in Oregon

    This is just one of millions of stories that tells us how desperately we need to reform our healthcare system.

    I am sick and tired of the stall methods and scare tactics the republicans use especially to keep a public option out of reform. Do they not have a conscience? Shame on them!!

    Congress should skip their August vacation and hammer out the details so we can get this urgent needed reform done once and for all.

    July 24, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. angie, texas

    Sorry, as sad a story as this is – it is not up to the government to take care of folks – that's YOUR responsibility. Notice how the article says he thought he was healthy – so he didn't bother to get any insurance.... truth be told a lot of young folks think this way – they don't want to spend money on insurance and they ride the wave of 'I'm young and healthy' as an excuse not to be responsible...

    July 24, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    @ Dutch, who said:

    "I've been uninsured for 9 years and I dread going to a doctor simply for the fact I may find our I have something wrong with me which could have been prevented if I had coverage."

    You're a vet. Why don't you go to the VA?

    July 24, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Chris in MI

    This is very sad and scary. Can you imagine what the cost was for him to finally go to the hospital and for the tests that discovered his leukemia? Since he cannot pay, the hospital will have to designate him as a charity case and taxpayers will foot the bill, not to mention the ongoing care he's going to need. If we had health reform in this country, maybe he could have afforded a plan that would have at least allowed him to visit his family doctor earlier. Many types of leukemia are curable if caught early...

    July 24, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. mike

    not sure where to past this but here it goes
    listening to your reporter this morning on the arrest of Gates is making me sick. For him to assume he the Officer owes Gates a apology is retarded. he is the raciest. the officer did nothing wrong and you guys CNN are making more of this then should be. it was a call of burglary and what hes not to respond he has to do his job and Gates got racial not the cop.
    Mike a pissed off American

    July 24, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Leta

    Government say's kill him he is a black man with a disease he should not breed this will take luekemia besides all that he sits around with a needle in his arm........Keeps it out of the DNA eventually...

    July 24, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Leta

    There is your HILLARY CLINTON HEALTH CARE REFORM signed in by a half black half white man....so which 1/2 wins...?

    July 24, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. enough already

    This is exactly the point. This kid thought he was invincible, so he elected not to carry health insurance. I am terribly sorry for his misfortune, but once again responsible people are asked to carry the weight.

    And, yes, Dutch, you do have something wrong with you. I'll send you my bill.

    July 24, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. victoria---texas

    it's a shame that a kid in college, who is trying to make a better life for himself is put in this situation. for my last year of college and a year or so after that i didn't have any health insurance and thank God i never got sick. there is no way a kid in college or just coming out of school can even afford to pay for health insurance, yet certain people want to act like it is that individual's fault for not having it when they get sick. This kid is just as productive a member of society as is all the people who oppose any sort of public option (because you know thats what they are thinking). he isn't trying to "milk" the system for what its worth. everyone should be able to go to the doctor, and i'm willing to pay more in taxes for it. the question is why aren't you????

    July 24, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Tony

    I responded to someone condemning the VA Georgia Healthcare on behalf of his injured sister, because of long waits for appointments.

    If Republicans follow through on their plan to maintain the status quo, I told him she'll continue waiting. If they had their way and strangled the VA like they were doing in Washington, she wouldn' t be able to get any appointments because of her pre-existing condition.

    Why do Republilcans only care for themselves and their $? They are as Christian as the Pharisees, worshipping the law of strict constructionism and their money more than God.

    July 24, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Canadian

    Hmmm...let me see...If that was me here in Canada, I would just show my "Socialist" Medicare Card, get my treatment and off I go. The only bill I would get is the 30$/night extra I would pay to upgrade from a semi-private hospital room to a private room.
    I might wait an extra weeks to get treatment but at least it saved me 300 000$. If it's life threatening, you're a priority and there is no waiting time...don't know where those opposed to Universal Health care get their information from.
    BTW, my father in-law just finished 8 weeks of Cancer treatment and all he had to pay was his parking pass for 2 months at the hospital. Total cost of cancer treatment = 80$...which btw is partially refundable.

    July 24, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. ME AT FL

    It is shameful that we pride ourselves on being the no 1 country in the world and our health care system is worse than that of a third world country. Why don't we have a healthcare system like the ones they have in EU or in Canada!!!!

    July 24, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Ron Ft. Myers

    Only a non thinking slob would not feel terrible about this young man's plight. Unless I am missing something, Obama never once said health care would be free, only "available" so how do you force people to have insurance? I have private health care and the cost is outrageous, the deductible is $5,000.00. I don't take vacations, etc. I guess I should have went to work for the government!

    July 24, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Right Trash

    What a horrible thing for this young man to go through. I just don't understand why there's a moment of hesitation in our Congress about this issue. Any one of us could lose their insurance.

    July 24, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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