Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And a heart-wrenching one

Teen dies hours after insurance company reverses denial of liver transplant payment

No one really knows if a liver transplant would have saved Nataline Sarkisyan. Her liver failed two weeks ago after a three year battle with leukemia. But at least one set of doctors said that the procedure, deemed uninsurable and experimental by Cigna, had a survival rate at six months of 65%. A hundred and fifty nurses rallied outside of the company's building. Then the decision was reversed--but by that time Nataline was in a vegetative state. She was taken off life support just hours after the decision was made. Her family is understandably devastated. A lawsuit is planned, but it will be difficult to prove wrong-doing.

Still, red tape and hurdles are the last things anyone needs in such dire circumstances. Our health care system should be based on the idea that a person should be able to get the care needed to maintain and improve his or her health. It shouldn't matter how much the person makes, who their carrier is, etc. The challenge is providing universal health care without causing even more red tape though, isn't it?

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