THE BLOG
11/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Death Panels are Real

In August, as the health care debate heated up, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page and declared that President Obama's health care plan would include so-called "death panels."

Many on the left were outraged. But, the truth is, death panels are real. They already exist.

Every day in this country, life and death decisions are made by for-profit insurance companies.

A recent report by the California Nurses Association found that the state's health insurers reject 1 in 5 medical claims. One insurance company, PacifiCare, rejected nearly 40% of all claims.

When Sarah Palin warns of government bureaucrats rationing your health care, she neglects to realize that health care is already rationed by private insurance companies.

Palin should look no further than the case of Nataline Sarkisyan. Back in 2007, the then 17-year old Sarkisyan was in desperate need of a liver transplant. But, her insurance company, CIGNA, refused to pay for it. Her family fought the insurance company tooth and nail to get her liver transplant covered. Nataline's case soon got attention in the national media. Facing criticism, CIGNA finally agreed to pay for the transplant. But, it was too late. Just hours after CIGNA approved the liver transplant, Nataline died.

This isn't to say that President Obama's health care plan will be perfect. No program ever is. But, without health care reform, insurance companies, whose only motivation is profit, will continue to decide who lives and who dies.