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Home » Healthcare, Politics

A Cause Rises

By Tom Watson on January 5, 2008One Comment

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.

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One Comment »

  • maryanne adams says:

    MY HUSBAND OF 21 YEARS MADE EVERY DAY I WAS WITH HIM HEAVEN ON EARTH. MY LOVER, MY FISHING BUDDY AND THE ONE WHO HAD THE PATIENCE TO TEACH ME ALL ABOUT FOOTBALL & LOVE IT & TO TAKE THIS BROKEN WOMAN WHO SUFFERED PHYSICAL ABUSE FROM A PAST RELATIONSHIP & MADE ME BELIVE IN LOVE AGAIN.AL WAS TAKEN AWAY FROM ME ON OCT 19 ,2009. WHY? BECAUSE OUR INSURANCE COMPANY HAS A CONTRACT FOR TRANSPLANTS IN ANOTHER STATE WHILE WE HAVE PERFECTLY SKILLED DOCTORS IN PITTSBURGH, PA, FOR 3 LONG YEARS, MY HUSBAND USED ALL THE MEDICINES FOR PULMONARY HYPERTENSION, SOME WITH PAINFUL RESULTS WISHING THAT HE WOULD BE PUT ON THE LIST FOR TRANSPLANTS AND KEEPING HIS & MY SPIRITS UP, NEVER COMPLAINING. ON OCT 14, HE WAS ADMITTED TO PGH HOSPITAL AND STILL THE INSURANCE CARRIER INSISTED TO CHOPPER FLIGHT HIM TO THE OTHER STATE. WEATHER DID NOT PERMIT. I BEGGED ,CRIED, PLEADED WITH THE INSURANCE CO MY HUSBAND WAS RAPIDLY DYING BEFORE MY VERY EYES TO AGREE TO THE TRANSPLANT HERE. FINALLY AFTER 3 YEARS, ALL APPEALS DENIED, THEY AGREED TO THE TRANSPLANT HERE. AL FINALLY GOT HIS WISH TO BE PUT ON THE TRANSPLANT LIST. I WONDER IF HE KNEW. I CONSTANTLY WAS TALKING TO HIM BUT NOT SURE IF HE KNEW SINCE HE HAD BEEN ON LIFE SUPPORT. ONLY 48 YEARS OLD. IF EVERY WOMAN HAD A MAN LIKE MY HUSBAND, THERE WOULD BE NO DIVORCE. ALL DOCTORS AND NURSES IN BOTH STATES WERE WONDERFUL AND WE CONSIDERED AS FAMILY BUT THEIR HANDS WERE TIED BECAUSE OF THE PRESENT HEALTH SYSTEM. HE WAS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE AND MY WORLD IS FALLING APART WITHOUT HIM. HOW MANY OTHER HAVE TO DIE. MY SPECIAL ANGEL, I MISS YOU. FOREVER IN LOVE

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