An Open Letter to John Stossel

I’ve never taken John Stossel seriously. I mean, the guy is such a transparent hack and blatant shill that it never even occurred to me someone might actually think he has something worthwhile to say. Which was stupid of me: the guy’s been on a major television “news” show for years and years, so clearly someone thinks the guy has something to add, or at least the suits think someone thinks that. And, no, his hideously cheesy 70s pornstache has nothing to do with my low esteem of his bandwidth.

Well, okay. Not much.

So I didn’t read the hit job he did on this poor woman, and I assume it’s behind the Wall Street Journal’s firewall. But it certainly is in keeping with his previously-observed standards.

Has he no decency? Has he no shame? Clearly not. Which is not a surprise. But is still disappointing.

Dear John,

My name is Julie Pierce. My husband was Tracy Pierce. I am featured in Michael Moore’s documentary ‘SiCKO.’ In the movie, I share my deceased husband’s story — his unsuccessful battle with our insurance company to receive what could have been life-saving treatments for kidney cancer.

I just read your Wall Street Journal article written on Sept. 13, 2007, titled “Sick Sob Stories.” You begin by talking about Tracy’s role in ‘SiCKO,’ and claim the bone marrow transplant denied by our insurer would not have saved him. You also accuse me of “sneering” over our situation.

In your ‘reporting’ of this story, you did not contact me, and you did not contact my husband’s doctors. I cannot believe that a publication like the Wall Street Journal would print such an accusation without talking to anyone involved — especially in such a personal matter, which resulted in the death of my 37-year-old husband and the father of my child.

If you had contacted me, I would have told you that bone marrow transplants became a last option, only after our insurer denied many other treatments again and again and again.

I would have shown you a letter from our doctors at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Kansas Hospital, in which they argued strongly for the bone marrow transplant, citing “strong evidence” supporting the past success of that treatment — they wrote that it could “give him a chance to achieve complete remission.” In fact, they called the bone marrow transplant “his only chance of survival.”

Instead of calling me up and doing real reporting, all you can do is throw around studies from 1999 about the supposed inefficiency of bone marrow transplants for breast cancer patients — even though Tracy didn’t have breasts. He had kidney cancer! I understand that you want to try to prove that private insurance in this country really isn’t that bad. And I can see that you won’t let the facts get in the way.

You go on to claim that Tracy wouldn’t have received his transplant in a country with socialized medicine, either. Where is the evidence? Not only are more bone marrow transplants performed every year in Canada, but they invented the technology! So much for your ridiculous claim that “profit is what has created the amazing scientific innovations that the U.S. offers to the world. If government takes over, innovation slows, health care is rationed.”

You are simply carrying water for the for-profit insurance industry that killed my husband. And then you have the nerve to accuse me of “sneering” about it. My husband has only been dead since January 18th, 2006. It is still fresh to me and my family, and comments like this are inhumane.

I have since tried to contact you via email, but you have not responded. I don’t expect an answer. People like you just write with an agenda, without coming to the source or getting any facts, because your main goal is to try to discredit Michael Moore and universal health care. I understand it’s a game — you did it without thinking about how you would hurt a family who have suffered — and are still suffering — such a tragic loss.

My family is not a “Sick Sob Story.” We are a normal, American family that has had a significant member die from a horrible cancer that ravaged his body due to repeated denials from a health insurance company. We will never know for sure what would have worked because Tracy was never given a fighting chance. Over 18,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have health insurance. I suppose theirs are “sob stories,” too.

I don’t want a hit-piece. I want answers. Why does our wonderful profit-driven system of medicine kill 18,000 Americans each year? Why do we pay far more for our health system than any other country, but have some of the lowest life expectancies and highest infant mortality rates in the Western world? Would you discredit the work of your late colleague Peter Jennings who, while suffering with lung cancer, did an excellent report titled “Breakdown: America’s Health Insurance Crisis”?

I hope you have answers, but I am not optimistic. I pray that you will never have to go through what we went through — if you did, you wouldn’t be so quick to cheerlead the system we were victimized by.

Julie Pierce

Mission, Kansas

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About the other scott peterson

Writer of comics and books and stuff.
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3 Responses to An Open Letter to John Stossel

  1. KathyR says:

    Ohh. Damn. That will just knock the air out of you, huh?

  2. Mr. Karen Edmisten says:

    No more horse manure. No more excuses. We are the only western, industrialized, supposedly first-world nation without universal health care. It just makes no sense. IT IS INHUMANE. John Stossel is a lying right-wing hack who has been allowed to spew his rant unchallenged on a major network for far too long.

  3. Ed says:

    What kind of crap do these people have for brains? How does the readership of the WSJ not rise in collective indignation to an article like this? Oh, wait, its the almighty dollar, as usual. Its amazing how people sell their souls for a few greenbacks.

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