Dawn is a few years younger than me. She lives in Atlanta. She's an aspiring playwright. And four years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare, but treatable brain tumor.
Dawn's doctors are ready to treat the tumor, but they can't. CIGNA, her insurer, refuses to pay for the care she needs because the only hospitals qualified to treat her are out-of-network. And after years of fighting, Dawn just received her final denial letter.
For me, the scariest thing about Dawn's story is that it could happen to any of us to a friend of mine, or someone in my family. After all, Dawn has insurance. But as long as private insurers are the only game in town, they'll continue to have the power to deny Americans the care they need.
Dawn is fighting back. And while CIGNA may be able to ignore Dawn, they won't be able to ignore millions of us standing together with her. I'm joining Dawn's fight to shine a light on Big Insurance's abusive tactics, get Dawn the care she needs, and make sure they don't do this to anyone ever again. Will you join me by signing a statement of support? Clicking here will add your name.
The statement says, "I stand with Dawn Smith. CIGNA must provide the treatment she needs and stop rejecting legitimate care for all the others who are suffering."
Unfortunately, Dawn's story isn't unique she's one of the millions of Americans who are suffering but what she's doing about her situation is. Instead of suffering in silence, she's sharing her painful, powerful story so that, as she says, "no one else has to go through what I have."
I've been really moved by Dawn's strength, given everything she's going through. She has terrible pain and sudden seizures that can knock her off her feet. She's had to move back in with her mom so she can have constant care. But through all that, she's kept her spirits up.
The heart-breaking part is that her condition is treatable. But CIGNA's refusal to treat her has brought her to "the end of my rope," as she puts it. CIGNA gladly accepts Dawn's premium payments, but when she needed care, they refused to pay for it, coming up with new reasons as they went.
Dawn's story is a symptom of a much bigger problem. But if we all rally behind her, we can help not just her, but everyone else who's suffering under our broken system, too. Together, we have the power to make Dawn's story different, and in the process, to remind Congress and the American people why we so desperately need health care reform.
Justin Ruben of MoveOn