Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

The insurance industry has some of the most sophisticated and knowledgeable people more than any other business primarily because the insurance business is one of the most difficult areas to make a profit because they are essentially predicting the future. Last night I watched the experts talk about how and if they decide to insure homes in the hurricane prone coastal states, especially Florida and the Gulf States. They were the first business to really understand climate change from warming oceans, melting glaciers, and the accuracy of Climate Models to predict the tipping point.
Conservative Blue Dogs in the House and Senate were easy prey for the 3,000 lobbyists and millions "given" to them to gain entry into "discussions" about health insurance. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/8/17/business_week_the_health_insurers_have discussed with sophisticated journalists at Business Week. Here are some excerpts from good articles explaining our healthcare system which I hope you will pass on to others.

Jim Kawakami, August 18, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com

"Socialism is the Best Medicine" Newsweek Katie Connolly, Aug 24, 2009 ... Americans wait longer to see primary-care physicians than patients in Britain, Germany, Australia, or New Zealandall countries with strong public-health systems. Nearly one quarter of Americans reported waiting six days or more for an appointment with their doctor. New Zealand scored best, with just 3 percent waiting that long, followed by Australia (10 percent), Germany (13 percent), and Britain (15 percent). Canada rounded out the bottom, with more than a third waiting six days or more. Similarly, America shares with its northern neighbor the dubious honor of being ranked last in terms of patients' ability to make same-day appointments. Only 26 percent of Americans and Canadians reported being able see their doctor on the day they called, compared with 60 percent in the Netherlands and 48 percent in Britain.
Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, says America ranks last overall in the fund's comparative studies, which consider access, equity, cost, quality, and efficiency measures across select developed countries. "Where we do well is on …selective surgery," she says. Only 8 percent of Americans have to wait four months or more for an elective procedure, and 62 percent wait less than a month. In Britain, 41 percent of patients have to wait four months or more. The disparity between primary and elective care, says Davis, is mostly due to a shortage of primary-care docs in the U.S.; we produce more specialists because specialists earn a lot more. ... http://www.newsweek.com/id/212152

Democracy Now ... In a cover story for BusinessWeek earlier this month, reporters Chad Terhune and Keith Epstein argue UnitedHealth and other insurers maneuvered to shape healthcare reform for their own benefit. The story is called “The Health Insurers Have Already Won.” The authors argue the insurers have, quote, "succeeded in redefining the terms of the reform debate to such a degree that no matter what specifics emerge in the voluminous bill Congress may send to President Obama this fall, the insurance industry will emerge more profitable.” ...
And I think if you—if you look from an insurance company’s point of view, a public plan was the worst thing they wanted to avoid. They do not want to compete against the government, so they can check that off. And then, two, things like the minimum benefits, what coverage will everyone have to buy, they don’t want that to be a expansive, generous list of benefits; they want to whittle that down to where you and I would have to pay more out of pocket, insurance would cover less. They’ve been very persuasive on that, knocking down that number of what the minimum benefits would be. ...
ANJALI KAMAT: I want to turn to an excerpt from a new documentary by Robert Greenwald at Brave New Films. It’s called Sick for Profit, http://sickforprofit.com/ and it looks at the profits made by UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley and the insurance claims UnitedHealth has denied.

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care
UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley owns $744,232,068 in unexercised stock options. CIGNA’s Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it most ... http://sickforprofit.com/

    STEPHANIE GRIGGS: I have three daughters. My oldest daughter is Adriana. She’s ten years old. My middle daughter is Kennedy, and she’s eight. And my youngest is Isabella. She turned five in April.

    Our world was pretty much turned upside down in a matter of minutes. To us, finding out that we would have a critically ill child who had not just one, but multiple life-threatening disorders was just mind-boggling. At that point, ear infections were the worst thing in the world. We were told initially that the paperwork was lost. A couple weeks later, we were told by UnitedHealthcare that it was denied. ...

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