Friday, September 18, 2009

He lied -- no he didn't

As though on cue, the South Carolina courts have upheld a $10 million dollar award to Jerome Mitchell who purchased health insurance from Fortis in 2001 when he was 18. A year later, when trying to donate blood, he was told he had HIV. Fortis decided he had lied on the application where it asked if he'd been diagnosed with immune deficiency and rescinded his policy.

As we know, although some won't admit it, Insurance companies pay bonuses to their death panels who reject claims and rescind policies, but I'm sure whatever they paid was a drop in the bucket in comparison. The court didn't mince words in upholding Mitchell's claim and upheld $10 million in punitive damages.
"We find ample support in the record that Fortis' conduct was reprehensible ... Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell's life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety"
and Mitchell was fortunate enough to be young enough to survive long enough to be vindicated. His life expectancy without very expensive treatment would have been 4 years, according to his suit. Older patients often die before they can get their day in court or before the inevitable appeals process winds down. The death panels love it when that happens. I think it happens rather frequently.

Do we need a public option to tame this kind of swashbuckling? Not necessarily, but we need something and we needed it a long time ago.

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