Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Insurance Companies!

It seems as though the insurance companies will be having the merriest Christmas this year (in lieu of the coal that many of us hoped they'd find in their stockings). Santa Obama and his senatelves really delivered the corporate America. They can boast that we got what was on our list (REFORM!!!!!!), but that's like asking for a new pair of shoes and getting an empty shoe box. What will keep our feet warm?
Americans awake to find empty shoe boxes, while the insurance companies sneak out the back door, adorned with new kicks.

I, like many, am heartbroken with this turn of events and can't help but feel that the joke is on us. Our representative democracy has failed us yet again. Do you feel you had a say in this? I don't. We went from public option to medicare buy-in to complete CRAP. Suddenly the insurance companies power has expanded; individuals will be forced to buy insurance with NO cost control. Jigga wha?!?!

Last Thursday, Howard Dean took to the Washington Post:

And on Monday, the National Nurses Union cited "10 fundamental flaws" in the bill:

1. The individual mandate forcing all those without coverage to buy private insurance, with insufficient cost controls on skyrocketing premiums and other insurance costs.

2. No challenge to insurance company monopolies, especially in the top 94 metropolitan areas where one or two companies dominate, severely limiting choice and competition.

3. An affordability mirage. Congressional Budget Office estimates say a family of four with a household income of $54,000 would be expected to pay 17 percent of their income, $9,000, on healthcare exposing too many families to grave financial risk.

4. The excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans which will encourage employers to reduce benefits, shift more costs to employees, promote proliferation of high-deductible plans, and lead to more self-rationing of care and medical bankruptcies, especially as more plans are subject to the tax every year due to the lack of adequate price controls. A Towers-Perrin survey in September found 30 percent of employers said they would reduce employment if their health costs go up, 86 percent said they'd pass the higher costs to their employees.

5. Major loopholes in the insurance reforms that promise bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions, and no cancellations for sickness. The loopholes include:

· Provisions permitting insurers and companies to more than double charges to employees who fail "wellness" programs because they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol readings, or other medical conditions.

· Insurers are permitted to sell policies "across state lines", exempting patient protections passed in other states. Insurers will thus set up in the least regulated states in a race to the bottom threatening public protections won by consumers in various states.

· Insurers can charge four times more based on age plus more for certain conditions, and continue to use marketing techniques to cherry-pick healthier, less costly enrollees.

· Insurers may continue to rescind policies for "fraud or intentional misrepresentation" – the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage.

6. Minimal oversight on insurance denials of care; a report by the California Nurses Association/NNOC in September found that six of California's largest insurers have rejected more than one-fifth of all claims since 2002.

7. Inadequate limits on drug prices, especially after Senate rejection of an amendment, to protect a White House deal with pharmaceutical giants, allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to import lower-cost drugs.

8. New burdens for our public safety net. With a shortage of primary care physicians and a continuing fiscal crisis at the state and local level, public hospitals and clinics will be a dumping ground for those the private system doesn't want.

9. Reduced reproductive rights for women.

10. No single standard of care. Our multi-tiered system remains with access to care still determined by ability to pay. Nothing changes in basic structure of the system; healthcare remains a privilege, not a right.

I have a "right" to post this blog but I don't have a right to get good, sufficient health care if my arm gets ripped off tomorrow. That's...W-R-O-N-G.

The bill gets pushed through and the hoity toities in Washington make it home in plenty of time to sip egg nog near the roaring fire. Honestly, what's it to them? About 2/3 of the US Senate are millionaires anyway.

Oh! We musn't forget Ben Nelson, the "democrat" with a pivotal vote in all this. The Nebraskan senator who "made is name and money in INSURANCE". Did you catch that? INSURANCE. Also, according to the Examiner...

Under the agreement struck between Harry Reid and Ben Nelson, Nebraska’s expanded Medicaid program will now be fully funded by the federal government. Nebraska is the only state to receive this sweetheart deal.

This should be a WAKE-UP CALL to not only Americans, but the whole wold. This is our HEALTHCARE. What is healthy about this? Who REALLY cares? This is not "reform". This is continued imperialistic greed in reform's clothing.

No comments: