Guess What, Sarah? Those 'Death Panels' Already Exist ...

... they're being run by insurance companies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 10:45 AM CDT
Attorney Mark Geragos, left, representing the Sarkisyan family, speaks, Dec. 21, 2007. Nataline Sarkisyan, 17, died after her insurance company spent 10 days refusing to pay for a liver transplant.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
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(Newser) – Sarah Palin thinks health care reform will bring with it “death panels,” collections of bureaucrats who will ration care, deciding whose life is and isn’t worth saving. The flaw in that logic? “That’s not the future of health care—it’s the present,” writes Mike Madden for Salon. According to the AMA, the country's biggest insurance companies denied 2% to 5% of claims last year, often with heartbreaking or outrageous results.

In one case, a 17-year-old girl was denied a liver transplant because she had leukemia, and her insurer, Cigna, determined that the liver transplant wouldn’t save her life. Cigna relented 10 days later, but she died before the operation could be performed. Horror stories like that abound—Madden found five within an hour. “Opponents of reform often skip right past any problems with the current system,” he concludes, “but it’s rife with them.”