Charles Dickens or Rod Serling? A Twilight Zone Christmas Carol, indeed

Friday, December 21, 2007 at 07:46 PM

2007 was, for me, for many, a year that needs to go away and at warp speed. For others, it will be a nightmare remembered: A 17-year girl has died, and according to some, at the hands of a health-care insurer playing Ebenezer Scrooge to the last, fatal chapter of this tale.

If you've been following this story, it has ended, and most sadly, yes:
GLENDALE, California (AP) -- A 17-year-old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed. Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda. "She passed away, and the insurance (company) is responsible for this," she said. "They took my daughter away from me," said Nataline's father, Krikor, who appeared at a news conference Friday with his 21-year-old son, Bedros. Mark Geragos, attorney for the girl's family, said he plans to ask the district attorney to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna HealthCare in the case. The insurer "maliciously killed her" because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, Geragos said.
Cigna now lands a win in the Number Six Chutzpah category, for being so beautifully two-faced in the face of poor PR, of course. Is that egg on their faces now? Are they to blame for this child's death? Yes, but not without 100 million co-conspirators. My late father had a saying, in a way, similar to a Chinese proverb: "Why are you bitching? Isn't this what you wanted?" See, to have it dirt cheap, and made very fast, we have to part with a few human dignities, like life, liberty, that sort of thing. Real health care would involve taxes (YIKE!), regulations (Oh, God, NO!), and yes, a smattering of...shall I....oh, I must......socialism! I then ask, as I told a co-worker earlier today who pointed this entire story out to me: "Well, decide which you want more of. You want cheap? You want easy? Or you want to sweat a bucket?" Me, I could stand a little more taxes, if that meant I could hit the clinic more often. Cheaper meds? I can dig on that. My child's life in danger? Yes, I'm for it. What parent isn't? But, to do that, we have to eliminate corporatism. We have to outlaw lobbying wholesale, demand better, but that would take something called balls. These days, I don't see much of that. All I see are cheap actors, cheap campaign promises and a Christmas born in the Twilight Zone. And no, this episode ain't even started good yet, either.


Point to my rant? Unless we really decide to get tired of this insanity and demand better, look for more stories like this one.

Has human life become that cheap? Obviously. Far better we turn a profit than save a life, sad, but a truth of this age.

And we are to blame for it. That's the part of the story that makes me the sickest.

Ya'll come back now.