Victims of Health Insurance Companies Are Not Dogs

Last week I wrote at ThinkProgress about the case of Ian Pearl, who was having his coverage dropped by Guardian Life Insurance Co. because it was deemed too expensive for the company. I noted that e-mails obtained by The Washington Times showed that the company referred to high cost patients such as Pearl as “dogs” that the company could simply “get rid of.” The story infuriated readers and myself — here was a tragically disabled person who always paid his premiums on time, and this company was going to drop him like any piece of waste (leaving him to die, I might add).

Now, Pearl has responded to Guardian’s treatment of him at a blog entry at the Huffington Post. An excerpt:

Don’t think what happened to me was unusual. Insurance companies regard everyone as potential dogs and trainwrecks. They won’t hesitate to use similar tactics to avoid your claims if someone in your family suffers a catastrophic illness. Insurers don’t like it when sick people live too long and cost too much.

I know firsthand that America’s health care system has the capacity to provide incomparable, life-saving care. But I am living proof that insurance-company “death squads” meeting behind closed doors routinely make life-sustaining benefits vanish.

Without stricter enforcement of existing laws and the creation of a public health insurance option to keep private insurers honest, it’s only a matter of time before you or someone you love will become the next victim.

Mr. Pearl should be headlining every news cast in the country. His case shows exactly what is wrong with our current health care system. Our profit-driven insurance companies are doing everything they can to deny people care, even people who are as vulnerable as Ian Pearl are. He and others like him are the strongest case we have that we need some kind of alternative to private, profit-driven corporations running our health insurance system, and these cases should make any politician be ashamed to be claiming they are holding up real health care reforms in order to defend such a vile industry.

Youthful Populism
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