For Cigna’s Sake! Just Die!

Rep. Grayson referencing Cigna’s lobbyists opposing health care reform

There is a story featured in yesterday’s LA Times business section that underscores the crisis facing the already insured titled:

Couple battle to make insurers liable for coverage decisions

Surrounded by supporters, Hilda Sarkisyan marched into Cigna Corp.’s Philadelphia headquarters on a chilly fall day, 10 months after the company refused to pay for a liver transplant for her daughter.

“You guys killed my daughter,” the diminutive San Fernando Valley real estate agent declared at the lobby security desk. “I want an apology.”

What she got was something quite different.

Cigna employees, looking down into the atrium lobby from a balcony above, began heckling her, she said, with one of them giving her “the finger.”


Cigna later apologized for the 2008 incident, but it has now become — unintentionally — the central element of a lawsuit Sarkisyan and her husband, Grigor, are pressing against the health insurer.

The suit began as a wrongful-death complaint, with the couple contending that Cigna’s refusal to cover the transplant led to Nataline’s death Dec. 20, 2007, in a case that drew national media attention.

A Los Angeles judge threw out the wrongful-death complaint, saying it was barred by a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that shields employer-paid healthcare plans from damages over their coverage decisions.

The case turned on the 1974 ERISA law that allows monetary damages only for disputes over the cost of  medical treatment,  not the provision or lack thereof.

Question:  Shouldn’t the health care reform legislation working its way through Congress change that?  Buehler? Buehler?

The article continues:

But U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess said the Sarkisyans could pursue damages for any emotional distress caused by the Philadelphia incident.

The ruling was bittersweet for the Sarkisyans and patient advocates, who say it points to the need for federal legislation to allow people to sue health insurers for the life-or-death decisions they make.

“They kill a beautiful 17-year-old girl, and I get to go after them for a finger? That’s sick,” Hilda Sarkisyan said.

Yeah. Can’t sue ’em for the equivalent of negligent homicide, only for being super dicks.

The Sarkisyans contend that Cigna improperly refused the transplant that Nataline’s UCLA physicians said at the time was urgently needed to save her life, and that the company reflexively issued a denial letter without looking into the specific circumstances. The company said at the time that,  for Nataline, the operation would have been experimental and was not covered. Nine days later, amid a storm of publicity, Cigna agreed to cover the transplant.

It was too late. Nataline died hours later.

In the bizzaro world of corporate logic, better late than never becomes better never than late.

Die, suckers.  Just die.


  1. Propagandee Propagandee

    Gotta love it:

    WellPoint Cuts Workers’ Health Insurance Benefits

    First Posted: 10- 5-09 11:19 AM | Updated: 10- 5-09 06:30 PM

    WellPoint health insurance company, which has encouraged its employees to lobby against health care reform, is now cutting their benefits.

    The insurance giant plans to raise deductibles and premiums for some of its employee health benefits. “Your cost per paycheck will probably increase,” said a memo to Wellpoint employees that was obtained by Bloomberg News…..

  2. there was a movie with william hurt called ‘the doctor.’ it was about a physician who was competent, but he didn’t have much of a bedside manner. then he got throat cancer, and he became a patient. things were a lot different from that perspective. he realized how jaded and unsympathetic he had been to his patients.

    the employees of cigna have been indoctrinated into thinking that the company they work for owes nobody any apologies. they probably treat denying treatment for policyholders as some kind of a game. i doubt they are any more evil than the rest of us. that’s just what happens when you work for a company that’s supposed to be service-oriented. one day, those employees or members of their families will become very ill and have to jump through the same hoops they held out for their clients, and they will realize just how heartless they had become.

  3. Avatar mary b

    This is just too sad. What has happened to the people of this Country?
    When will their profits be high enough for them? How many big screen tee vees do they need? How many fucking cars?
    When will the Congress say enough?

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