Thursday, July 19, 2007

Anecdotes from Moore's Sicko

I just saw these on Wikipedia's entry. For those too lazy to check the link:

1. Rick, who accidentally sawed off the tops of his middle and ring fingers on one hand while working at home. He had no insurance and limited funds at his disposal, so he was asked by the hospital to choose whether to have the end of his middle finger reattached for $60,000 or the end of his ring finger for $12,000. He chose the ring finger.[6]

Doug Noe. Noe's insurance provider, Cigna Healthcare, approved a cochlear ear implant for only the left ear of Noe's toddler daughter, Annette, who was born with an acute hearing disability. Cigna argued that a two-ear operation was "experimental." After Noe alerted Cigna that Moore was making a movie about the US Healthcare system, and that Noe's case would be featured in it, Noe was contacted by Cigna, and they agreed to approve the second implant.[7] This occurred before Moore had actually heard of Noe's case, so Noe acted independently of Moore.

Cigna, incidentally, is a publicly traded company (NYSE:CI). Stock is up nearly 60% for the year.

3. A woman gets stuck with the ambulance bill after a car accident because she didn't clear the charge with her insurer before requesting the ambulance; the accident had immediately rendered her unconscious and unable to request approval.[6]

Tracy Pierce died from kidney cancer after his insurer denied numerous treatments recommended by his doctor, including a possibly life-saving bone-marrow transplant.[6]

One woman's insurance provider denied coverage after an operation, because she didn't mention a minor, previous yeast infection on her application; they retroactively cancelled her coverage on that basis. [6]

Accounts of four fully-insured American women being denied crucial specialist referrals, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Two of the women died of cancer as a result, and one eventually sued her HMO after the diagnosis of her brain tumour in Japan (her American HMO told her the tumour doesn't exist). A footage of the director of her HMO testifying is shown.

7. Homeless dumping. Homeless patients, still in hospital gowns and some with IV tubes in their arms, were abandoned at homeless shelters by Los Angeles hospitals after they had received incomplete medical treatment.[8][9] Mike Huffman is seen in the film describing the dumping of a woman at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles' Skid Row.

So, for those naive optimists who think that bad things don't happen, especially in America -- there you go. You're full of shit, as usual. It's like the attack on conspiracy theorists: "people are too good for that" or "it's too hard to keep secrets". Yeah, right. Your average American doesn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites and thinks microwaves cause cancer. Morons have no sense for what is plausible and what isn't.

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