by Max Brantley
Will a little eyewitness testimony about the goodness of insurance companies sway U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln on her resistance to public health insurance? (Wait. Don't answer that question.)
Labor leaders said they were making a special appeal to Senator Blanche Lincoln, a moderate Arkansas Democrat. David Arellanes [in YouTube clip], a retired phone company worker, was flown in from Bryant, Ark., to meet with her.
His wife suffered a traumatic brain injury in a horseback riding accident. She was evacuated to a hospital near Fort Smith, Ark., where doctors said immediate surgery was needed to save her.
Union officials said that immediately after phoning his family, he called his insurance company. They said the insurer denied coverage for the surgery and treatment because it said he did not report the accident.
When he proved that he had, union officials said, the insurer continued to deny payment, saying that Mr. Arellanes and his wife had gone to an out-of-network hospital. They live in the Little Rock area.
His wife made an impressive recovery after being in a coma for several weeks, but the couple faced $200,000 in medical bills, lost their home and declared personal bankruptcy.
Mr. Arellanes seeks a public option, echoing organized labor’s and President Obama’s view that such an option would keep insurance companies honest.
UPDATE: Have you read the story about the big health insurance outfit, CIGNA, where employees heckled a mother who was protesting the company's refusal to cover a liver transplant for her daughter? And these SOBs are winning?