The Poop Strong Global Media Blitz
First off, welcome to all the new visitors we’ve had. After a barrage of press coverage following my Twitter conversation with Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, we’ve gotten quite a first-timers stopping by here at Stage IV Hope and over at the Poop Strong site and webstore.
I’ve been sharing the news on Twitter and Facebook, but here’s a consolidated version for those of you who’d rather not dig through all the previous posts or don’t use those social media sites:
- Late last week, I managed to find myself (along with many friends and supporters) in the middle of a conservation on Twitter with Aetna’s PR team and CEO. Especially after my friend Jen decided to condense the tweets in an easy-to-read fashion on Storify, the story quickly started to go viral.
- Somehow, the final outcome was that Mr. Bertolini admitted the current healthcare system is broken, he’s committed to fixing it, and he directed the company to step in and take care of the more than $118,000 in bills I’d accrued.
- Soon after, I made the front page of the Arizona Republic (click to enlarge):
- Then, fellow survivor, the truly inspirational and courageous Xeni Jardin, caught wind of my story. She’d mentioned my cancer lemonade stand approach before, but this was a chance to spend more than an hour talking with someone whose really been amazing in publicly fighting breast cancer over the past few months. Also, BoingBoing! I love BoingBoing! Some audio of the interview should be posted soon, but the write-up gives a nice summary of the entire story (and features Jen’s original Storify). It was great discussing my experiences with Xeni, in the larger context of the need for systemic change. As she writes:
It looks like Arijit is covered, for now, but the system is still broken. The debate over health care costs has become a political football—but for people like me and Arijit and everyone else in America who isn’t in the 1%, health care costs are literally a matter of life and death. No one should suffer or die because they can’t afford medical treatment. It really is that simple.
- Meanwhile, the Washington Post noticed. And I got a write-up in their blog Wonkblog. The very same blog that I share posts from regularly. Never did I expect I’d be sharing a link to a post about me. Hmm, maybe I’ll quote myself:
Guha was estastic with the result. At the same time though, his own experience has left him frustrated with the American health care system. As Guha sees it, he’s a well-connected guy who has access to resources, and got a lucky break. “Those who don’t engage in a Twitter war with Aetna’s CEO might not be so lucky,” he says.
“It’s great this all worked out,” he says. “The bigger issue is that, it’s so absurd that I should have to be doing this. It speaks volumes to how broken our health care system is.”
- And then today, NPR got involved. Their health blog, Shots, had a piece about the WaPo piece. I wasn’t interviewed, but Aetna did chime in with a couple words about my situation:
We were able to connect with Mr. Guha through our social media channels and heard his concerns. Although he reached the limits of his plan, Aetna care managers have continued to provide support and we have worked to develop a solution. As a result, we will be able to cover Mr. Guha’s medical costs through the end of the plan year. It’s important to note that the school’s health plan for next year has significantly higher plan maximums.
While we are pleased to have found a solution for Mr. Guha, we recognize that there is much more work to be done to fix the problems in our health care system. We are committed to reforms that make the system work better for everyone.
And I think that brings us up to speed. It’s been a crazy few days out here in Phoenix…