Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Human Consequences of Our For-Profit Health Care System

Americans now have a face to connect to our broken for-profit health care system due to a tragic situation in California, where Nataline Sarkisyan, 17 year old girl, died after she was denied a liver transplant by her insurance company.

Unfortunately, Nataline is not the only person that is denied health care by insurance companies. You have to remember that insurance companies make money by denying people care.

Insurance companies are in the business of not paying claims.

By not paying your claim, they get to keep all those premiums you pay. Maximizing their benefit by minimizing their risk, by finding loopholes and other reason to deny claims unless and until they are either cornered into paying them or a claim is so clear-cut they can't avoid it under risk of bad faith. Welcome to the wonderful world of profit and to hell with the consequences.

We need a doctor and patient health care system and not a for-profit health care system. Medical decisions should be made between a patient and the doctors and not be trumped by insurance companies who are crunching the numbers to see how it all affects their balance sheet.

The death of a teenage girl reminds Americans that our health care system is not about dollar signs, but about real human lives. We can only hope that this tragic situation becomes the impetus for a universal health care system in this country.


Anonymous said...

For anyone who follows this issue closely, I recommend reading the diaries of Daily Kos user "nyceve":


She has posted so many pieces on "murder by spreadsheet", including a recent one based on an e-mail she got from a transplant surgeon who says that what happened to Nataline happens frequently in this country.


IBOY said...

I know your heart is in the right place, but you need to consider this: this was a case basically of rationing (this girl had already had a bone marrow transplant ($150,000) preceded I'm sure by extensive chemo that probably ran north of $100,000, and now she was in liver failure (cost of transplant and care for a year adding another $200,000 or so), with a 65% chance of living six months but a pretty good chance of ultimately dying. Now do you think there is no rationing in a national health care system like, say, Canada's? If we have a national health care system and do not ration, we are all doomed. There are many valid arguments for national health insurance, but this case is not one of them.