Longform

The Unwanted Ones

Page 6 of 6

Insurance agent Orion Steen says that after an exhaustive search of companies in Arizona, he finally located an Oregon-based company willing to issue policies to both the Palandris and the Stums. The policies exclude Down's syndrome-related illnesses, he says, but the insurer has agreed to allow the children's doctors to make such determinations.

Ironically, notes ARC's Pat Brown, "While these children are widely viewed as too high-risk by private insurers, they also are not eligible for federal disability insurance because the feds don't consider Down's syndrome, by itself, to be a disability."

"The kids we're talking about don't need special medical help. They just need fair treatment."

What was it, then, that made this child uninsurable, and why was her record of good health discounted?

One agent, sort of groping for an explanation, said, `Well, you wouldn't want to buy a car with a ding in it, would you?'"

"It is a segment of society with no capacity to speak for itself and they've taken advantage of it."

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Kathleen Stanton