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Thursday, September 10, 2009

“California’s Real Death Panels”–Data Reveals California’s Private Insurers Deny 21% of Claims

"The insurance companies aren’t in business to provide care; they’re in business to make profits for their shareholders. One of the ways in which they make profits, the main way they make profits, is by collecting money from patients and from families and not paying money back in claims. They call it a medical loss ratio, every time they make a payment on a claim."
Charles Idelson, Communications Director for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

Wendell Potter, whom you may recall from a previous email, is the former p.r. head at CIGNA also appears in this story.

So does a mother, Hilda Sarkisyan, who lost her daughter who needed a liver transplant but whose insurance company, CIGNA, reversed their decision to deny the claim too late and only after public outrage was raised.

If you bother to read or listen or watch this and still think that the status quo - a market-based health insurance industry without a public option - can be trusted to do what is morally right and humane; if you think that it's best for America that every single fellow American cannot get health care because they all aren't insured and can't get it or have their coverage dropped or denied, then I have to ask you if you are simply in denial about the realities of health care in this country, or are you just resisting change over petty partisan politics?

I actually hope it's one of those two because the only alternatives I can come up with are much less palatable. One other possible explanation that occurs to me seems to be that money must be more important than human life.

Those campaigning against change seem to be simply lying about the notion that if people who don't have health care suddenly have some means of getting it means it can only come from something that is taken away from those who do have it need to hear one word; Ridiculous.

Something else about all of this debate troubles me. Whatever happened to being a Christian nation and taking care of one another? Is the guiding religious principle really just "cafeteria Christianity", allowing people to decide which teachings to accept and which to ignore? Whatever happened to the "least of my brothers" teaching? I'm not at all qualified to comment on Christian dogma, but I don't recall anything from Catechism classes about any qualifications or fine print that went along with that lesson.

Or is the real religion - especially among conservatives, it seems to me - really about worshiping wealth and the aspirations for wealth and the acceptance that stepping on whomever's neck it takes to get to whatever your own definition of prosperity might be perfectly fine?

I mean, what other possible reasoning and rationale can their be for not putting private insurance companies on notice? What other reasons are there for resisting change and everything that doesn't have a certain political party's stamp on it?

Only in America, it seems, does greed and lust for wealth take precedence over proper medical care for every citizen and the humane treatment of fellow human beings.

Only in America would the same people who want to bring the Christian Bible into the public schoolroom while they overturn a woman's right to choose using arguments about protecting the unborn life be the same people who place more meaning on shareholder wealth than they do on the life of someone who needs health care and can't afford it. (While they tend, it seems to me, to ironically also be the biggest supporters the death penalty.)

Only in America would the argument against a public option be based on an unfounded fear that those who have health insurance might somehow lose what they have if the less fortunate among us were to now have it.

Sorry, but I see all of this as just being greedy and hypocritical. In fact, I think it's totally and completely reprehensible. It makes my blood boil that some of us in this country continue to choose to vilify the poor and less fortunate because, as we all know, they are just a bunch of lazy, good-for-nothing slackers who want to sponge off the rest of us and don't deserve any help, including affordable health care.

Let them die in the streets or in over-crowded and under-funded emergency rooms, right? Let's keep turning a blind eye to patient dumping? Let's not do anything to stop health care bills from bankrupting good old fashioned middle class American families?

Let's let kids who need transplants die?

And please don't tell me that you think it's the illegal alien who'll benefit from health care reform or that your new hero is that uncivilized and juvenile buffoon, Joe Wilson. I think the GOP can kiss another Congressional seat goodbye in South Carolina.

I don't mind telling you that I'm about this far away from being one of those Americans who has to go without any health care coverage. I'm out of work and can't afford a grand a month to pay for health insurance much longer. I'm not looking for pity or sympathy, just making it real for those too far on the right-of-center on this one.

What confounds me about the GOP and makes their position so completely unbelievable is their resistance to changing the system. The financial services industry proved that they cannot be trusted, and it seems painfully obvious that the health insurance industry cannot, either. More of the same is simply more wrong, and the Rs really have become the party of No on this issue. They seem to have had too little interest in compromising on anything when they were in power, and now the chickens have come home to roost.