I don’t spend much time on politics here, but I am compelled now to join the chorus of voices crying out against the health insurance industry here in the U.S. We are drawing very close to crisis mode, and the media is actually stepping up to bring it to a head.
As reported by the Hartford Courant newspaper, protesters gathered outside the Glendale, CA headquarters of CIGNA HealthCare to protest the reversal of their decision to cover a critical liver transplant for 17 year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, calling it “too experimental”. You can read the details by clicking on the above link.
During the appeal process, doctors had to induce a coma to keep her alive until she could receive the transplant she’d already been promised. Finally, after a barrage of protest and media coverage, they re-reversed the decision, saying they would “make an exception in this rare and unusual case”. Rare and unusual in the amount of bad press they were getting, is what I assume they meant. And then of course, to add the cherry to the top of this mud sundae, “Our hearts go out to Nataline and her family, as they endure this terrible ordeal.” There are words for that, but I will not assume that only adults read this blog.
When I was on a mission trip in Cordoba, Argentina, the resident missionary there told me a story about a time he bought a vacuum cleaner at a small, independent store. When he got home to use it, it immediately fell apart. So he took it back, demanding a refund, but the store refused, and would not budge. So he took the only recourse available to him: he stood out on the sidewalk, showing people the busted vacuum, and telling them that the store sells crap without a refund policy. He drove so many customers away that the store finally relented, and gave him his money back.
Is that where our Health Insurance industry is headed? Where you have to organize a demonstration, or form a Facebook Causes group, or put a loose change jar at every grocery store check-out in the neighborhood to pay for what ought to be covered by your exorbitant monthly premiums? Will we soon see the health giant CEOs burning in effigy on the nightly news?
“But at least the story has a happy ending,” you say. If only that were true. After the claim was approved by CIGNA, but before surgery could begin, 17 year-old Nataline died, according to ABC News.
Onto the hands of an industry already caked with dry black blood, the flow now runs fresh and red in full public view.
God have mercy.