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Outrage over denial of coverage

October 18, 2009

Re: "After Loss, a Push to Change Rules," Oct. 8:

Hilda Sarkisyan, on behalf of her daughter -- dead because of her insurer's denial of a liver transplant -- seeks to jettison the infamous 1974 ERISA provisions, which shield insurers from wrongful-death suits.

There may be an additional remedy: citizen's arrest for homicide or wrongful death of politicians blocking access to universal health coverage. A recent Harvard study indicates that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year because of lack of health insurance and care. Why is deliberately maintaining the status quo and its death toll not viewed as homicide or wrongful death?

Roger Carasso

Los Angeles ::

This article finally answered my question as to why Kaiser denied my cancer-stricken daughter a stem cell transplant recommended by the City of Hope. Is ERISA why Kaiser is also allowed to continue its policy of placing all cancer patients at a lower priority of receiving blood transfusions? Although this denial will not kill immediately [it allows] for a slow death of these expensive patients.

Hillarie Levy

Simi Valley ::

While it is true ERISA won't allow private individuals to sue their insurer for bad-faith denial of benefits, that rule does not apply to governmental employees, who can. They haven't "opened the floodgates of litigation," an argument so often abused as a defense against allowing us private folks to assert our rights. On the contrary, the insurers providing their coverage wouldn't dare deny benefits as a result.

Death squads? Rationed care? We have them now. They're called for-profit insurance companies with no penalties for greed or paying CEOs $12 million a year or more.

Frederick Fisher

El Segundo

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