As I’ve said a few times before, private insurance in this country has every reason in the world to drag their feet on (or flat-out deny) requests for treatment. If they wait long enough, the people in desperate need of treatments will die, saving the insurers millions that they can then use as bonuses for their CEOs. Executives of health insurance companies literally make a killing by making a killing.

I don’t think that there’s a better example of the way private insurance in this country works than the example of Nataline Sarkisyan. CIGNA undoubtedly knew that if they stood firm, that nature would take its course and a big claim they might have had to pay would conveniently disappear. And of course, that’s exactly what happened.

Treatment decisions cannot be made by bean counters if a decent and just healthcare system is to exist. Healthcare decisions must be made by healthcare professionals. Now the wingtards always argue that this will just drive costs though the roof, and yet…… this country spends more per person on healthcare than any in the industrialized world, and we get far LESS value for our healthcare dollars than any “socialized” industrialized country gets. And right here, in front of you, is the answer as to why this works the way it does. Treatment decisions are made based on what is best for the INSURER, not what is best for the patient. We know of Nataline because of her family, but I guarantee you that day in and day out, every single day, many others will quietly DIE because treating them isn’t as cost-efficient as killing them is. Hell, the end of the year is coming up, and this might have shaved a bunch of money out of that bonus pool. What’s more important-one family that spends this Christmas grieving over the loss of a child, or a bunch of executives not getting to collect that extra swag at the end of the year? You don’t have to be a psychologist to figure out how the folks in charge at CIGNA would see it, do you?

I hope that somehow, Nataline’s family finds a little peace in this season. If what happened to Nataline is the catalyst for some meaningful change, then at least this young girl’s death won’t have been for nothing more than fattening up the bottom line. Nothing will ever bring this precious child back to her family, but our outrage may keep others from losing loved ones for the same reason.

If you pray, could you say a prayer for Nataline’s family? If you don’t pray, could you keep Nataline’s family in your thoughts? And can you resolve to do what you can to keep this from happening to other families? To YOUR family? Remember that Chimpy vetoed SCHIP because he WANTS us in insurance systems like CIGNA. I don’t think there’s a better illustration of the “family values” of the moronic monkey and the rest of the neotards than the story of Nataline Sarkisyan.

A grieving family is blaming an insurance company for the death Thursday of a 17-year-old leukemia patient, who died hours after the company reversed course and agreed to pay for her to receive a liver transplant.

Nataline Sarkisyan was being treated at UCLA Medical Center, where she had been unresponsive in intensive care for about three weeks, her mother said.

“She had a 65% chance of survival if she had gotten the liver,” Hilda Sarkisyan said from her home this morning.

The Sarkisyans’ insurer, Philadelphia-based Cigna HealthCare, denied the transplant earlier this month.

Doctors at UCLA sent a letter Dec. 11 to Cigna emphasizing that Nataline was eligible for a transplant, Hilda Sarkisyan said. But Cigna refused to pay, citing a lack of medical evidence the procedure would help.

Hilda Sarkisyan said the company was trying to save money. “They just like to collect. They don’t want to deliver,” she said.

On Thursday, the family rallied supporters online and staged a protest at Cigna’s Glendale office with about 150 people, including many members of the local Armenian community and the California Nurses Assn., which had released statements supporting the family’s cause.

Later in the day, Cigna released a statement approving the transplant payment.

“Although it is outside the scope of the plan’s coverage, and despite the lack of medical evidence regarding the effectiveness of such treatment,” spokesman Wendell Potter wrote, “Cigna HealthCare has decided to make an exception in this rare and unusual case, and we will provide coverage should she proceed with the requested liver transplant. Our thoughts and payers are with Nataline and her family at this time.”

Nataline died about 6 p.m.

Cigna spokesmen did not respond to e-mail and telephone requests for comment this morning.

The family’s lawyer planned a news conference later today to discuss the situation.

Charles Idelson, spokesman for the Oakland-based California Nurses Assns., called Cigna’s handling of the Sarkisyan’s case “outrageous.”

“If Cigna could approve the transplant yesterday in response to hundreds of phone calls and people pounding on their door in Glendale, why couldn’t they have done it eight days earlier?” Idelson said this morning.

He said his group, which represents 75,000 nursing professionals, the majority in California, has recently rallied around a number of patients who have been denied care.

While it isn’t clear that Cigna could have saved Nataline by approving the transplant earlier, Idelson said, the insurer should have trusted her doctors.

“The transplant was recommended by the medical professionals at the bedside,” Idelson said. “They should have been listened to.”

The same people who insisted that a woman long brain-dead be kept alive indefinitely at great expense to the taxpayer would be the first ones to object to any kind of Government intervention on behalf of Nataline Sarkisyan. Indeed, WHERE WERE THEY when this SENTIENT young lady was dying, because CIGNA wouldn’t approve a treatment? Randall Terry, where the FUCK were you? Jeb Bush? Tom DeLay? John Cornyn? Bill Frist? Chimpy? Where the FUCK were you people?!?

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