Case Study in Health Insurance Failure

John Edwards' speech is quite timely, considering how health care in this country is a clusterfuck. Take, for example, the following story about a teenage girl who needed a liver transplant to save her life.

Warning: This is really going to upset you.

Nataline Sarkisyan was dealt a crappy hand at 14 when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After treatment, the cancer had gone into remission, only to come back this past summer. As more complications started presenting themselves, doctors decided that Nataline, now 17, needed a bone marrow transplant to keep going. Luckily, her brother was a match and they were able to do a transplant. However, things went downhill from there.

Nataline was experiencing unanticipated problems from the marrow transplant, causing her liver to fail. Doctors then decided that a liver transplant was necessary to basically save her life. When Nataline's parents brought this information to their insurance provider, Cigna, for approval, they were denied. Cigna's explained that the transplant was deemed as "experimental" and, most likely, too expensive to be covered. That left the Sarkisyans facing a $75,000 down payment to proceed with the transplant, an amount that I'm sure most of us could certainly not afford.

The California Nurses Association caught wind of this and organized a protest that would crash Cigna's gates in person, on the phone, and on the blogosphere. Thanks to a couple of days of intense pressure from a lot of people, Cigna actually reversed their decision and decided to provide coverage for this life saving transplant operation for Nataline. Unlike Edwards' recounting of James Lowe's story, this one does not have a happy ending.

Ironically, when Cigna got its act together to cover this needed transplant, Nataline's situation got worse and the family was forced to remove her from life support and let her pass away.

That, ladies and gentlemen, crystallizes what is wrong with health care in this country. There's nothing to debate. There is only the need to fix and remove this greed-based shit once and for all.

Status quo is NOT AN OPTION.

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