As President Obama goes on his weekend media blitz, he likes to pepper his speeches and his arguments for health care reform by giving first person stories of people who have had tragic experiences with the tyranny and injustice of insurance companies.
One of the most tragic is the case of Nataline Sarkisyan.
In 2007 Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17 year old girl with leukemia whose family had health insurance through Cigna was told by her doctors she needed a liver transplant. Cigna refused to pay saying that the operation, one of the most expensive that can be done, was “experimental”.
The assertion was absurd since liver transplants have become common, though still very expensive, but as a result of Cigna refusing to pay for the transplant Nataline was taken off the donor list.
Her family and her doctor appealed and for a second time Cigna insurance refused to pay for the operation.
When the California Nurse’s Association found out, they staged a massive demonstration in front of Cigna Headquarters in Glendale California and urged their membership to call Cigna to protest.
Under the glare of the TV cameras and protesting nurses, a public relations nightmare for Cigna, they reversed themselves and said they would pay for the operation.
Two hours after Cigna’s reversal Nataline Sarkisyan died.
This isn’t an isolated incident but it is one of the most tragic. So much so that the Sarkisyan’s lawyer, Mark Garragos had considered petitioning the Los Angeles DA to file murder charges against Cigna.
And if you think this cant happen in your family, remember, no one does.
Death panels do exist. They’re called insurance companies. And most people never realize the power they have over them and the injustice they are capable of until it;’s too late.
Healthcare reform with a public option is best the way to make sure there are no more Natalines. And the best way to make sure there is a public option is for people to call their member of congress 202-224-3121. It’s not a recording its a real live operator at the Capitol switchboard who will connect you with the office of any member of congress you choose.With Obama wavering from one day to the next,it is congress who will forge the bill that Obama will sign. And a reform bill with a public option will put an end to the real death panels.