From The Kansas City Channel:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The widow of a man who lost his battle with kidney cancer and his health-care provider is taking that fight to a larger stage.
Tracy Pierce died in February 2006. His family said his battle to beat cancer was not a fair fight because despite being fully insured, Pierce's insurance provider refused to pay for many of the treatments prescribed by his doctor, saying they were experimental or not a medical necessity. In the end, Pierce's family called it "death by denial."
"I just can't believe you've got this insurance company that's just willing to let you die," said Tracy Pierce's wife, Julie.
KMBC's Jim Flink started following Tracy Pierce's story two years ago, documenting Pierce's fight against kidney cancer and against an insurance provider, which rejected many of the treatments Pierce's doctor requested.
"I just hope we can get something done about this. I'm not done with this," Tracy Pierce said in his final interview. Flink reported that Pierce died an hour and a half after giving the interview.
Flink's news report spawned a firestorm of interest. Julie Pierce was contacted by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Moore said the Pierces' situation is part of a national trend.
In his documentary "Sicko," Moore lays out the argument that profit and health care do not mix.
"The thinking of how we can make money off the patient is all wrong. It should be how can we make the patient well," Moore said in his film.
The movie gave Julie Pierce a voice and a stage.
"It made me feel that I wasn't alone, that there were other people out there willing to stand up," Pierce said.
National notoriety has brought a bigger platform after the movie's release. Julie Pierce was called to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress.
"We were fully insured through my employer St. Joseph Medical Center," Pierce told lawmakers.
"I was talking to Congressman Conyers and he was saying he didn't realize the people he worked with every day had a story to tell until that hearing," Pierce said.
Flink reported that the movie has released some demons for Pierce and it has unleashed a new fight to educate, inform and carry the spirit of her husband's life as a legacy.
"It's important to look at your health plan. It's important to get checkups. It's important not to put anything off. I don't care if it's a pain in your pinky finger because it might be something," Pierce said.
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t r u t h o u t "'SiCKO' goes to Washington" video: