December 31, 2007

Edwards: Leave insurers out of health care reform discussions

By TONY LEYS
REGISTER STAFF WRITER

Spencer, Ia. - John Edwards is using a recent medical tragedy to
illustrate why he thinks the president can't include health insurers
in health-care reform discussions.

The story involves Nataline Sarkisyan, 17, of California, whose
doctors said she needed a liver transplant. Administrators of her
insurance company refused to pay for it.

"The doctors pleaded, the nurses pleaded, and finally, Americans
started literally picketing and walking outside their offices,"
Edwards told about 260 people here today. "And they finally gave in,
and notified the family that they'd pay for it. But then a few hours
later, she died. Because it was too late."

The candidate paused for a second to let this sink in. Then his voice
rose in indignation. "And people say to me that as president of the
United States, they want me to sit at a table and negotiate with these
people? Never. It will never happen."

Edwards' universal health-care plan is similar to those of his main
Democratic rivals, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But he is
positioning himself as the one who would be most willing to fight
health-insurers and drug companies, which he says stand in the way of
real changes.

The former North Carolina senator has vilified the leaders of such
companies, saying they're only interested in ever-fatter profits. "How
much money do they need? I mean, really."

He did not name Sarkisyan, but he added her to a list of people who he
contends are having their lives destroyed by greedy corporations. He
includes workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas, veterans who
are homeless and families living in poverty.

"The very richest are getting much richer," he said. "The big
companies are making more money than ever. But at what price? At what
price? The promiseof America being available for children. That's the
price. The destruction of the middle class in this country. That Ã-s
the price."
From: Baghdasarian