Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Insurance Corps Confuse Their Customers and Dump the Sick – to Satisfy Those Wall Street Masters

Former CIGNA Health Insurance PR Man, Wendell Potter is telling all about the tricks and lies the insurance companies tell the public to fool them into thinking that they serve them well. That may be true when you are young and not really sick or obese or have so-called pre-existing conditions that more and more Americans have from corporate FAST FOODs making them 30 lbs overweight or Obese, with pre-diabetic with metabolic syndrome which eventually can lead to diabetes 2 and amputation of their legs or loss of their kidneys, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides and decades of health problems.

Insurance forms are very tricky so it is easy to misinterpret the question or leave out minor treatments by doctors your have forgotten. Health Insurance companies only comb through all your medical records when an expensive treatment comes up later in life such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and organ failure to help them denial care or drop your from coverage.

The film SICKO delineates many of these tricks and how much the USA compares badly with other industrial countries. We are in last place in Healthcare and only compare favorably with some Third World Countries as far as infant mortality and longevity. The only place we excel are new surgical techniques and medical research which are in category of "experimental" by insurance companies and treatment is denied even though the surgery or expensive medicine has proved effective.

Today I watched C-Span covering how healthcare is provided in the Washington DC area by Virginia Hospital Center a private hospital. Even though it seems to be the hospital of choice in this area, it has only 24 Intensive Care Unit or ICU. Also not known by most is that because the ICU units are not profitable for Hospitals since the Republicans and Corporate healthcare took real power in the 1980s.

"Dr. Steven Zimmet discussed the medical services of the hospital’s intensive care unit and respiratory care department. Dr. Zimmet has been is the medical director of the hospital’s intensive care unit and respiratory care department since 2005 and serves as a member of its board of directors."
Dr. Steven Zimmet said that Medicare does not monitor the treatments that doctors want, but does decide how much it wants to pay. Zimmet said he has to call continually to get approval from corporate health insurance companies for just about everything they want to do! Who has the DEATH PANEL? Washington, DC : 30 min. More information available at .

Now they expect about half the population to get Swine Flu and it has already started with a bang at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The vaccine won't be available until the middle of October and has not been approved yet. Some commentators are blaming Obama for this. For those who followed the Bird Flu and SARS deadly viruses, we know the clueless response by the Bush regime in the same way that Reagan ignored the danger of AIDS!

When I live in Los Angeles, when the seasonal flu had an excess of people who needed hospitalization and a respirator, not enough were available during the Bush regime. They did fix it but did not fund any preparations for a possible pandemic except for more respirators and Tamiflu. They cut money for the Veterans Hospital every year, cut money for Medicare many times, cut the money for the Centers for Disease Control, and provided no research money. Now the Republicans are starting to blame Obama for these problems! What gall!!

Michael Moore Movie SICKO Shows Us How France, England, Canada, and Cuba Keep Sick Alive

The link below has the whole 2 hour movie that gives us the truth about our healthcare system for those with Health Insurance verses the truly humane healthcare for all that costs half as much. Yes, the amoral Healthcare Corporations and Big Pharma, will let people die rather than diminish profits. Do we prefer to die, in order to keep free enterprise Corporate Healthcare? Do you realize that corporations often fire people, especially those over age forty who cost them more, when they just reported recorded profits. Pay attention!

If you cannot watch the movie on your computer, go see it at a friends house or at the library or university or other schools. Many apartment complexes have broadband computers as do exercise gyms, hotels, etc.

Jim Kawakami, September 2, 2009, Health, Finance, and General Topics of Interest

Wendell Potter Potter: Rally Against Wall Street's Health Care Takeover

Saturday, August 29 I had the good fortune to speak at a community rally for health care reform in a city park in downtown Portland, Oregon. It was a broad-based and diverse group with many signs and placards supporting the 'public option' being debated by Congress, and others calling for ' reform like that working effectively in other countries such as Canada. Here is what I said:

I would like to begin by apologizing to all of you for the role I played 15 years ago in cheating you out of a reformed health care system. Had it not been for greedy insurance companies and other special interests, and their army of lobbyists and spin-doctors like I used to be, we wouldn’t be here today.

I’m ashamed that I let myself get caught up in deceitful and dishonest PR campaigns that worked so well, hundreds of thousands of our citizens have died, and millions of others have lost their homes and been forced into bankruptcy, so that a very few corporate executives and their Wall Street masters could become obscenely rich.

(Bankruptcy now up to 64 percent for Medical Bills of all bankruptcies by Americans, about half who have so-called health insurance. Jim)

But It was only during the last few years of my career that I came to realize the full scope of the harm my colleagues and I had caused, and the lengths that insurance companies will go to increase their profits at the expense of working families.

As I told the Senate Commerce Committee two months ago, the higher up the corporate ladder I climbed, the more I could see how insurance companies confuse their customers and dump the sick – all so they can satisfy those Wall Street masters.

I described for the senators how insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, how they flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and how they make it nearly impossible to understand -- or even to obtain -- information consumers need.

I also told the Committee how the industry has conducted duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns every time Congress has tried to reform our health care system -- and how its current behind-scenes-efforts may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans.

I noted that, just as the industry did 15 years ago when it led the effort to kill the Clinton reform plan, it is using shills and front groups to spread lies and disinformation to scare Americans away from the very reform that would benefit them most.

Make no mistake, the industry, despite its public assurances to be good-faith partners with the President and Congress, has been at work for years laying the groundwork for devious and often sinister campaigns to manipulate public opinion. ...

The insurance industry has funded several other front groups since then whenever the industry has been under attack. It formed the Coalition for Affordable Quality Healthcare to try to improve the image of managed care in response to a constant stream of negative stories that appeared in the media in the late ‘90s and the first years of this decade.

It funded another front group when lawyers began filing class action lawsuits on behalf of doctors and patients.

The PR firm the industry hired to create that front group, by the way, had planned and conducted a similar campaign for the tobacco industry a few years earlier.

The insurance industry hired that same PR firm again in 2007 to help blunt the impact of Michael Moores movie, “Sicko.” It created and staffed a front group called “Health Care America” specifically to discredit Moore and to demonize the health care systems featured in the movie. ...

Americans must realize that the when they hear isolated stories of long waiting times to see doctors in Canada and allegations that care in other systems is rationed by government bureaucrats, the insurance industry has written the script. ...

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