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Only in this one, Tiny Tim dies.

The Scrooge? Healthcare giant CIGNA denying 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan a liver transplant by calling the procedure "experimental". Finally, after a national grassroots protest led by family and the California Nurses Association, CIGNA relented. She died hours after the approval of the procedure.

And the motto of CIGNA? "A Business of Caring"? "Caring" about what? Profit more than people?

This illustrates plainly the degree to which health care is broken in this country. At this moment, the only people the health system serves besides perhaps the pharmaceutical industry, is the bloated health insurance industry. Not the Doctors, not the medical community and certainly not the patients. Not only is health insurance out of reach for those that don't have the benefit of co-pay, but some bean-counter in a cubicle can deny you a standard life saving procedure on any number of ridiculous grounds to preserve their bottom-line for the benefit of themselves and their shareholders.

Not only do we pay outrageous sums of money for potential health care that can be denied by those we pay those outrageous sums to, but those that can't pay for the insurance are in-turn subsidised by those that do pay, through increasingly high premiums, skyrocketing health care costs and increased taxation to pay for those services. Meanwhile, rather than having a system that encourages preventative, long-term care that can potentially save money by treating serious conditions at an early stage or provide care to keep those conditions from becoming more serious and in the end costing more, the current system results in people avoiding health care, leading to more expensive urgent care treatments and emergency room visits which the payers pay for once again.

It is a system that goes against the very principles of health care  -   to do no harm to the patient. Health care in this country is literally killing us. Both financially and medically.

It is a situation that indeed hearkens back to the Dickensonian era of greedy, corrupt businessmen hunkered over their desks, counting shillings while the common people suffer, and sometimes die, because of their policies. Humanity is no longer included as part of these companies spreadsheets.

Let's remember all this come November and which party refuses to do anything about the abominable state of American health care, no, scratch that, health abuse for the benefit of health insurers.

Lawyers for the family are pursuing a case of negligent homicide against CIGNA.

Originally posted to CaptStumpy on Tue Dec 25, 2007 at 10:51 AM PST.

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