Which is deadlier? Mystery illness or health insurance company?

What would happen if you developed a mystery illness, and what would happen if your insurance carrier found a way to weasel out of paying for it?

Hopefully you'll never find out. But if want to know what it's like, you can ask Lori Hall Steele.

I heard about her story earlier today, and I read about her in this recent article in her hometown paper, and all I could think was that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain should be all over this, the next time any of them get into a health care debate or discussion. If there was ever an argument for universal health insurance, it seems like this would be it -- well, among thousands of other sad tales out there, obviously.

Ms. Steele is a freelance writer in Traverse City, Michigan, and has written thousands of articles about everything from weddings to war and coyotes to chocolate truffles. She has penned stories for the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and numerous magazines from Brides to Kansas City Parent. And when she was a young reporter, she won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award citation for a newspaper series that chronicled the lives of impoverished single mothers in rural northern Michigan.

Coming full circle, she, too, is now an impoverished single mother, thanks to the help, or non-help, of her health insurance carrier.