Friday, November 20, 2009

The best healthcare in the world


Meet six-year-old Madison Leuchtmann. Madison was born with bilateral artesia, meaning she was born without ear canals. She needs a hearing implant in order to recognize sounds. Without it, she could lose her hearing.

Madison's family has health insurance, but their insurer, Cigna, refuses to cover the $20,000 cost of the implant. The company claims that the device is not medically necessary. Madison's pediatrician, Dr. Randall Clary, disagrees, saying, “This is obviously medically necessary. You have a child that has no ear canals!”

In addition, as reported by Think Progress, Cigna said in a written statement to the local news station Fox 2, “It is not unusual for commercial benefit plans to exclude hearing assisted devices.” Get it? There's nothing unusual about this situation. This is standard operating procedure.

But there is a silver lining in this horrible mess: At least it's an employee of a for-profit health insurance company -- and not a government bureaucrat -- coming between this six-year-old girl and her doctor.

It seems that if you need to use your health insurance, having health insurance is not much different than not having it. And remember, Cigna is doing this while the nation's attention is focused on the for-profit health insurance industry, and while legislation that could put them out of business is being crafted in Congress.

Imagine what Cigna and other for-profit insurance companies will do when no one is looking.

Why do we always have to shame these amoral scumfucks into doing the right thing? That this is a necessary and oft-repeated step in the process of getting healthcare is evidence that the for-profit health insurance system Just. Doesn't. Work.

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