A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Health: Nataline Sarkisyan

If you've been following the story of teenaged Nataline Sarkisyan, then you know that CIGNA, her health insurance company, refused to pay for her liver transplant (after promising to do so and finding a match), and finally, after a great deal of pressure, reversed its decision.

Too late. The teenager passed away last evening.

Nataline's family say that CIGNA had agreed to a liver transplant some time ago and had found a match for Nataline. Thereafter, Nataline, who was battling leukemia, received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. Shortly afterwards, she developed a lung infection, at which point CIGNA apparently decided a liver transplant was too risky. Nataline's doctors then wrote CIGNA stating that the liver transplant was essential. CIGNA dragged its feet until yesterday, when they finally reversed their decision about the transplant, after demonstrations by nurses and teenagers sympathetic to the Sarkisyans' plight. Nataline had spent the past week in a medically-induced coma to stabilize her while waiting for the liver transplant.

If you haven't been following the story, ABC has the details.

To put this into perspective, CIGNA CEO H. Edward Hanway made $13+ million a year in 2004. (Here's a fine article on HMO costs and CEO pay.) Last year, his pay was more than double that figure.

In fact, he could probably well afford to pay Nataline Sarkisyan's medical costs out of his own wages. By the way, wages ain't everything Mr. Hanway gets. He also gets tons of stock options, bonuses, freebies, and other compensation - totaling $78.31 million over the five-year period from 2001 to 2006.

Health "care" in this country is an obscenity.

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