Dying man denied health coverage over missing 26 cents
The disease, left untreated, travels fast and can kill within months, or even weeks, of diagnosis
KEASBEY, N.J. — Twenty-six cents almost cost Sergio Branco his life. Twenty-six cents. Most of us could scrape that up from under our couch cushions or on the floor of a car. Sergio Branco has 26 cents, too. The question was whether or not he would be permitted to pay it.
Branco, a 33-year-old father of three, was a truck driver for Russell Reid, a Keasbey-based waste-management company. "In his spare time, he would play with his children, liked having barbecues and people over for gatherings," his cousin Sandy Marujo said. "He is a big kid at heart."
In January, Branco wasn’t himself. He didn’t feel right. "He complained about bone pains and being extremely fatigued," Marujo said. "He decided to go to the emergency room." The Edison man underwent several tests, which indicated he had a very weak immune system.