'This is Herman Cain!' (as told to Herman Cain).

During the September 22 GOP debate, Godfather Pizza president Herman Cain repeated the claim that he would have succumbed to cancer had the Affordable Care Act been law when he was diagnosed. "I said I would be dead under Obamacare because...[after I was diagnosed] I was able to get the necessary CT scan, tests, go to the necessary doctors, get a second opinion, get chemotherapy, get surgery, recuperate from surgery, get more chemotherapy, in a span of nine months. If we had been under Obamacare, and abureaucratwas trying to tell me when I could get that CT scan, that would have delayed my treatment."

Hogwash. The law changes nothing about the way insurers handle cancer patients' treatment (Cain was sixty at the time of the diagnosis). No one would have stood between Cain and a CAT scan or surgery. He has it backwards. Let's say Cain wasn't wealthy. If he were to lose his job and health insurance and try to get coverage on his own without the Affordable Care Act in place, that would pose a threat to his survival--because before the law, insurers were allowed to refuse coverage on the basis of "preexisting conditions," just as they were permitted to drop patients who become expensively ill.So I wondered: Why doesn't a person who beat stage-four cancer know that? What kind of person would trade so brazenly--and so mistakenly--on his own bout with cancer?

Well, last week my answer arrived at Commonweal HQ in the form ofThis Is Herman Cain! by Herman Cain, released today. The chapter on his struggle with cancer doesn't shed any light on how he paid for treatment, which is strange, because, as anyone who has had to cope with catastrophic illness knows, how you covered expenses looms large in your memory of the ordeal. But it does show how Cain got into the treatment facility of his choice, MD Anderson in Houston. One of Cain's employees had been researching top cancer-treatment hospitals. She asked Cain, "Do you know someone that can help you get into MD Anderson?"

I said, "Yes I do. Boone Pickens, the oil magnate."I called Boone Pickens, a good friend to this day. He used to be on the board of MD Anderson and was a contributor, and he called the head of the hospital and said, "Herman Cain is not just another person trying to get into MD Anderson; he's also a friend of mine."

But before becoming a patient at MD Anderson, Cain needed a second opinion. So he went to Savannah to be looked at by a Dr. Lord. The doctor examined Cain's medical records, and asked him to grab some lunch and come back in ninety minutes.

He called in several of his colleagues and they went over my results. I went back and talked to him and he didn't charge me a dime--and he supported me in my Senate campaign. He said, "There's something greater that you're supposed to do for this country and this is my contribution."

These are precisely the sorts of scenes that make it clear why we needed health-care reform in the first place. Access to quality medical treatment should not be determined by whether you have a job that offers health insurance, how rich you are, or who you know. Of course, what's amusing about Cain's claim is that even if his worst fears about "Obamacare" came true, his health outcomes would not be affected. He'd still be able to get the best health care money could buy. How long will the journalists who run these debates allow him to get away with such claptrap?What other insights are offered by This Is Herman Cain! by Herman Cain?I've been working through it, and thought it might be instructive to share some of the book's more memorable passages. Let's start with this one, a concept key to understanding the mind of Herman Cain:

There are three steps involved in becoming a true CEO of Self. I call them ROI.R: Remove barriers that prevent self-motivation to achieve goals.O: Obtain the right results by working on the right problems.I: Inspiration. Learn to inspire yourself.In my experience, great leaders inspire others. But, more importantly, they inspire themselves.

If one thing about Herman Cain comes through in This Is Herman Cain! by Herman Cain, it's that Herman Cain is extraordinarily self-inspired.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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