A Cause Rises
John Edwards may have lost Iowa to Barack Obama, but his campaign continues and its focus on those left out by society still resonates to many – and I’ve noticed that one name has jumped into his stump speech when he gets to healthcare: Nataline Sarkisyan. Last week, I wrote about how the tragic story of the 17-year-old’s death after her health insurance refused to pay for liver transplant surgery until it was too late was growing into a wired cause. Now Edwards has picked up on it.
The other night in Iowa, he led with the cause in his speech – which was part concession (to Obama) part victory (over Clinton) and part pledge (to keep on campaigning) – as he continued the call for universal healthcare:
And we are so proud of this cause. But I want all of us to remember tonight while we’re having all these political celebrations, that just a few weeks ago in America, Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17- year-old girl who had a — needed a liver transplant, and whose insurance company decided they wouldn’t pay for her liver transplant operation.
Finally, her nurses spoke up on her behalf. Her doctors spoke up on her behalf. Ultimately, the American people spoke up on her behalf by marching and picketing in front of her health insurance carrier.
And, finally, the insurance carrier caved in and agreed to pay for her operation. And when they notified the family just a few hours later, she died. She lost her life. Why? Why?
The Sarkisyan story is so compelling that I suspect whichever Democrat becomes the nominee, her name will be included in the movement for more and better healthcare coverage.
UPDATE: The Sarkisyan family is going to campaign with Edwards in New Hampshire.