HMO Murders Teen

This is what happens when health coverage is about profit, not about life (ABC News):

Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old from Glendale, Calif., died Thursday just a few hours after her insurer, Cigna HealthCare, approved a procedure it had previously described as “too experimental.”

Attorney Mark Geragos said that Cigna “maliciously killed her” and that he hopes to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare for the death of Sarkisyan.

They approved the procedure only under pressure, and too late (abc7, emphasis mine):

On Thursday the family, with the support of the California Nurses Association and the Armenian Youth Federation, led a demonstration at the Glendale headquarters of CIGNA, calling on the public to pressure the company. Nataline’s doctors at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA Medical Center twice appealed to CIGNA to approve the surgery, but to no avail.

The lobbying and the treat of a lawsuit by a high profile lawyer got the company to relent. The reversal happened just six hours before Nataline died. 

After the doctors appealed the decision, the request was still turned down.

Geri Jenkins of the California Nurses Association said the Sarkisyans had insurance, and medical providers felt comfortable performing the medical procedure. In that situation, the the insurer should defer to medical experts, she said.

“They have insurance, and there’s no reason that the doctors’ judgment should be overrided by a bean counter sitting there in an insurance office,” Jenkins said.

This was profit over health.  Universal health care is the embodiment of the abstract “right to life” enshrined in the constitution.  Without it, that document remains a sick joke.

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