|The whole world could be crumbling and 123 Americans are dying today due to lack of access to needed health care, but you’d think the most critical thing we needed to see is hours and hours of the coverage of the George Zimmerman murder trial. The 123 dying were as surely killed by our profit-first, dysfunctional health care system in America as Trayvon Martin was by the over-zealous Zimmerman. As we watch a jury struggle to figure out why the killing occurred, there is no doubt at all about why the 123 sick or injured Americans will die today without health care. The 123 will die because they didn’t have coverage or cash to get care. They will die for profits. Their lives snuffed out by over-zealous CEOs watching the corporate bottom line.
Such was the case when 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan died in December of 2007 after insurance giant Cigna denied coverage of a life-saving liver transplant. Her doctors gave Nataline a 65 percent chance to live; Cigna gave her no chance. The company did eventually reverse its decision after protest grew too loud. But by then it was too late, and Nataline died. No one stood accountable for that death. Because of the laws protecting health insurance corporations in situations like this, no one could be held accountable for the decision that killed this beautiful young woman.
July 10, 1990 – December 20, 2007
Rest assured that in America, killings like Nataline’s are happening every day and those deaths go largely unnoticed. Families fade into their grief and their guilt, some never recovering from the trauma of watching someone they loved die because an insurance company or a health provider said there was a price to save that life that dented profits too much.
This weekend, using the last of my hard-earned frequent-flyer miles and staying for a couple of nights with family there, I will travel to Los Angeles to witness a celebration of Nataline’s brief life and a remembrance of her tragic death that is hosted by the foundation her parents created in her memory. The event is a fabulous fashion show held every July close to Nataline’s what would have been Nataline’s birthday that honors the dreams and aspirations Nataline had, and at the end of the evening we all are treated to seeing one of the designs Nataline left behind as brought to life by a fashion designer and worn by one of Nataline’s friends. The tribute is magnificent. The reasons for the tribute are horrific. Hilda Sarkisyan, Nataline’s mother, vows to fight on to prevent this horror from happening to anyone else’s family. Hilda is and ever will be Nataline’s mother.
So, this blog will not be updated until Monday, July 15th. In remembrance of Nataline Sarkisyan and in honor of her parents, Hilda and Koko, may you never have to form a foundation in memory of your child who was killed by a corporation’s profit-driven decision and never held accountable. Fight for improved and expanded Medicare for all for life coverage in America so no insurance company CEO ever again weighs a child’s value against his shareholders’ profits. Fight for your children and for Nataline. She deserved so much better, and unless you fight, more children like her will suffer and die.
Today’s count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:
The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 23,626
— Saturday, July 13 = 23,749; and Sunday, July 14 = 23,872
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system
— Saturday, July 13 = 380,764; and Sunday, July 15 = 382,742