KPIX CBS5 aired this story last night about the health of ousted Benicia Herald editor Les Mahler. He was told by a Kaiser doctor that the tumor behind his eye was benign. But a second doctor at UCSF said he had an adenoid cystic carcinoma and that he had six years to live. When he began treatment at Kaiser, before he could get an MRI he was told he had to pay a $975 co-pay, more than he could afford while on disability and without a job. So he didn’t get the MRI. After Channel 5 got involved, Kaiser immediately scheduled the MRI and agreed to bill him later for the treatment. Mahler was fired by the Benicia Herald in November after a City Council candidate, who had spent thousands of dollars on ads, complained about Mahler’s opinion column. The firing triggered protests by residents outside the newspaper’s offices.

SF Press Club News


  1. I don’t think the purpose of this posting was to discuss the health care system. Instead, it appears to be an update on a colleague who is facing some difficult times.

  2. What, exactly, is the point of asking for comments and then refusing to publish them. Apparently my comment about Mr. Mahler wasn’t sufficiently reverential. KPIX’s coverage was beneficial to Mahler and Kaiser recognized bad publicity when they say it. Nevertheless, painting Kaiser as a bully seems unjustified. Until it could be proven that their diagnosis was wrong, charging him was all that could be done. Kaiser isn’t responsible for Mr. Mahler’s lack of funds.

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