Nataline Sarkisyan, 17, dead because her insurer Cigna HealthCare's profit margin is dependent on finding excuses to deny the care it's customers pay their premiums for.
After first approving the liver transplant she needed to survive her illness, on the medical advice of her doctors, Cigna then claimed the procedure was 'experimental' and said they wouldn't pay for it. Nurses at the hospital where Nataline was being cared for rallied for her care, the story spread across the blogosphere and Cigna facing a tidal wave of fury over their callousness relented.
Too late. Because of the time wasted fighting the insurance company Nataline died 6 PM Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center only hours after Cigna relented and finally approved the treatment the Sarkisyan family's insurance covered and her doctor's said was necessary to save her. They had managed to stall long enough to avoid the lifetime of expensive care Nataline would have required.
Presidential candidate John Edwards was clearly furious, speaking about the case yesterday:
"Are you telling me that we're gonna sit at a table and negotiate with those people?" asked a visibly angered Edwards, challenging the health care companies. "We're gonna take their power away and we're not gonna have this kind of problem again."It is my fervent hope that letting Nataline die will ultimately cost Cigna many thousands of times as much as keeping her alive would have. In a just world their corporate board would spend the rest of their lives in prison.
This is what the 'free market solutions' that people like the Fraser Institute and the Conservative Party push for Canadian health care would mean.