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The Onion has done a lot of great 'reporting' (see here, for example) on America's insane health care non-system, but its most recent work just highlights the barbaric nature of our for-profit health insurers like no other. Welcome to Rome (errr...Aetna's Hartford campus in 2014):

Creating an electric and intimidating atmosphere with their cheers and vocal cries for blood, throngs of health insurance executives reportedly crowded into a massive outdoor coliseum on Aetna’s corporate campus Monday to watch one of their policyholders engage in a life-or-death fight against cancer.

Sources confirmed that the stone arena was filled to capacity for the highly anticipated spectacle, with over 90,000 officials attending from providers as far away as WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente, and HCSC to see if the patient could survive an intense, brutal struggle with the advanced stage III illness.

“Today we bring you one of our most thrilling challengers to date: a 57-year-old caucasian male with preexisting high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Scott Serota from an extravagantly decorated box seat, his booming voice immediately silencing the raucous masses of middle-aged executives. “He holds a privately purchased Aetna PPO with a $400 monthly premium and $1,500 annual deductible, but faces the fight of his life against an aggressive form of multiple myeloma, one of the most ruthless killers known to man.”

This 'article' will make you laugh and cry, while simultaneously raising your blood pressure to a level that will make the Aetna bean counters get scared you'll actually need some pills from the pharmacy.

Think about it, though: what kind of health care system could be more barbaric, more cruel, more immoral than one that allows rent-seeking, for-profit corporations to benefit from the innately human reality of injury, pain, sickness and fear of death?

Isn't this how it really feels when you're sitting on the 1-800 line with Cigna or Anthem for two hours while they push you from one department to the next?

The most famous of the coliseum’s challengers is said to be legendary Cigna plan member #ZH0115672, who bravely fought breast cancer for six years before finally succumbing to the disease in 2004. Sources said the 63-year-old policyholder almost incited riots in the stands after contesting a claim for post-operative mastectomy care through third-party arbitration, though the situation was fortunately defused when the arbiter sided with the health care insurers.

“Sometimes if the patient lasts long enough and things get a little too drawn-out, we’ll unleash all the exclusions and caps we secretly hid throughout the contract for the most expensive medical services,” said UnitedHealth chief financial officer David Wichmann, watching closely as the policyholder darted back and forth between specialists to repair damage from the substandard care of a recommended in-network doctor. “It’s just a little fail-safe we have in our back pocket to make sure the crowds don’t get restless. Besides, these patients know the risks when they step into the world of HMOs and high-deductible health plans.”

“Oh, he’s done for,” Wichmann added as the helpless man fell to his knees and began begging for help paying his $800 monthly prescription of generic Zometa. “This is my favorite part—where we decide his fate.”

Isn't it exactly like being a wild animal in a coliseum full of gladiators whose best interest (their stock options) is not your survival, but, well, if it's a really expensive illness, your death? I don't think I'm being hyperbolic with my rhetoric here.

Read this 'article' and pass it on to friends and family who are confident we have the world's best, most compassionate health care.

As Salon recently submitted, maybe the only thing that will save us from the Aetna barbarians is satire so painful it hurts.

And, as always, for excellent information on single-payer (i.e. Medicare for all), please visit here.

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