Arijit Guha, who earned national attention for challenging Aetna over its health insurance policy for students, died Friday of colon cancer.
I spoke with Guha last year after the Supreme Court decision on the healthcare law. Guha had been eagerly anticipating the high court's positive decision on the law because its provisions included doing away with health insurance caps.
Guha, a graduate student at Arizona State University, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011 after complaining of excruciating stomach pain.
While Guha was paying $400 a month for a student health plan through Aetna, his coverage stopped when his medical bills reached $300,000 - the policy's cap. That left Guha with $118,000 in unpaid medical bills.
A very public twitter battle (Guha's handle was @Poop_Strong) with Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini resulted in his bill ultimately getting paid.
By that time Guha had already started his own fundraising campaign to cover his medical bills, called Poopstrong. He gave the money he'd already raised to cancer funds, including the University of Arizona's patient assistant fund.
And in January, all student health plans had to stop putting caps on their plans.
My heart is aching, but the pain is eased a bit knowing that he has the support of such an amazing community of people, so many of whom have never met him. I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for all you have done for him. He is truly an inspiration (though he hated being told so), and I will be eternally grateful to have had him in my life, and to have been able to share him with all of you.