Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
"Someday, my story will be your story," Gregor Sarkisyan, father of the late Nataline Sarkisyan, 17, who died December 20, 2007, as CIGNA denied her care. She could be your child, she could be my child, she was his child. Watch Gregor’s still grief-stricken face as he tries again to get some answers that never come.
He spoke at the CIGNA protest in Glendale, CA, on October 28, 2009. Nothing in the current reform bills will stop this. Nothing.
Covering pre-existing conditions and lifting lifetime caps does not stop these profit mongers from denying any and all treatments that reduce their profits for shareholders. There will be more Nataline Sarkisyan stories under the new reform than there already are as denying treatment becomes the main way for the insurance companies to raise profits. More pain. More suffering. More death.
While Congress pats itself on the back and President Obama claims a victory, more children will die. This healthcare reform does not get us to the place where we can know that our care decisions are about health not wealth. It moves us to more uncertainty and it remains a dishonest discussion about all the broken parts of the system, and the reform leaves us at serious risk. Forcing us to buy the product that killed Nataline and leaving in place the defective mechanisms in that product that caused her death is a failure beyond imagination.
No ceremony on the lawn in Washington, DC, washes away the truth.
Did you see in the video how the police helped CIGNA by shielding photos of the arrests? It isn’t good PR for them to show policyholders being arrested for seeking answers. And it isn’t good PR for our elected officials to see the profiteers they are protecting arresting the people who have trusted them to reform this broken system.
Even after this reform mess passes, we must fight on. Until the waves of healthcare justice break on the shores of compassion and truth, we fight on. Until we bury no more Nataline’s murdered by greed and by indifference.
Healthcare is a basic human right, and we know President Obama knows that. We just don’t know if granting this human right to all he seeks to lead will continue to be his fight with us.
“The arc of history bends toward justice,” the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. , told us. We cannot know where we are on that arc, but together we will sharpen that bend.
Follow the money. Stay in the fight. It matters.
Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is a national single-payer healthcare advocate and community organizer with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
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