Monday, August 10, 2009

Bend Over and Try to Relax

So let's not even talk about the 46 million uninsured, some of whom have diabetes, or hypertension, or cancer and will die without treatment. If someone believes they are more entitled to health care than other people, because they have a job or went to college or whatever, my saying that's bullshit isn't going to change their minds.

Instead, let's talk about why people who currently HAVE health insurance should support reform that includes a government option.

I understand your concerns, but, frankly, the health insurance industry has been treating the American consumers the same way the banking industry did: as a goldmine to be plundered and then abandoned once the gold runs out.

In 1993, in order to get Congress to drop Hilary-care, health insurers agreed to self-police and do several things: 1) eliminate underwriting practices like pre-existing condition exclusions and cherry-picking 2) begin to use community rating; and 3) create a standard benefit plan.

They've done none of these.

Instead, they cull their rolls of long-time customers as soon as the customer gets sick. (The Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigation into three insurers found that they canceled the coverage of roughly 20,000 people in a five-year period, allowing the companies to avoid paying $300 million in claims.) And, they purge employers by skyrocketing their rates if an employee gets seriously ill, or has an accident. In one case, Aetna raised the cost of a family policy to $44,000/year -- more than the average employee's gross earnings.

And they've been very successful: in the 10 years from 1998 to 2008, the medical-loss ratio (premiums received vs. claims paid) dropped from 85.3% to 81.6%, translating to several billion dollars in profit.

In fact, the profitability for the top ten health insurance companies rose 425% in this time period.

No wonder they're scared shitless of having a government-run option. Scared enough to plant shills in the audiences of town halls all over the country, so there can be no rational discussion on the topic.

All I can say is, if you've got health insurance, you'd better hang onto it.

Because with the hosing you're getting, you're going to need a proctologist.

(Note: All statistics pulled from the testimony before Congress of Wendell Potter, a former Cigna executive, or the Kaiser Family Foundation website.)

24 comments:

Ocean Girl said...

I'm staying out of this, but Jeanne..you should be invited to the beer party.

buffalodick said...

My COBRA for two people costs $920 a month....

Dedene said...

That was fascinating and terrifying! Even though we have a wonderful national health program here, the insurance companies still try to screw us all of the time.
I can only wish that the U.S. develops a nation-wide, comprehensive health plan in your lifetime.

mo.stoneskin said...

This all news to me, but sounds horrifying nonetheless.

darsden said...

The health care plan purposed will only benefit the illegals and welfare mama's the one that have jobs will be paying for those who do not..just like it is not..ONLY the ones who have jobs and working hard to provide for their families will be paying double. This health care plan purposed by a non legal american president is one step closer to his total dictatorship. Have you read the 1000 pages..I have several highlighted pages that I have posted on my facebook page under notes. He not only will have control of your health..whether you receive care or not but he will also have control of your personal finances. He does NOT have America's interest at heart, he has his alliance to another country at heart and it's not ours.

Michelle said...

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and this morning I came to the conclusion that I don't know enough about it to make an intelligent decision on how I feel. All I know is that no one should suffer because of lack of funds. How that should be prevented, I don't know.

SkylersDad said...

Thanks for posting something on this that has some facts associated with it. I am so tired of all of the screaming...

Madtexter said...

Can I get an AMEN!! I am blessed to still have a job in this economy and affordable health care.

That being said, I started my Master Cleanse fast today. (I may need a doctor by week's end!)

I'll be blogging about my experience with the Cleanse on a daily basis.

Stay tuned...

SparkleFarkle said...

I, for one, know this is not a laughing matter as I'm among the throngs of "shame-on-yous" who can't get health insurance due to a pre-exising condition/health history). Nevertheless, here's a little more fodder for thought from The Onion: "I TRUST GOVERNMENT health care because Obama trusts it enough to continue smoking."

Renee said...

We will be the best of neighbours, of that I have no doubt.

Love Renee xoxo

Fer*Cambe said...

"I understand your concerns, but, frankly, the health insurance industry has been treating the American consumers the same way the banking industry did: as a goldmine to be plundered and then abandoned once the gold runs out"

I just love that quote, brilliant... Yea on Public Option.

Carolyn...Online said...

Since my health insurance almost doubled in the last year (and no one in our family even got sick) I'm all for something getting better.

kj said...

ah, i am going to like your blog very much.

:)

Lyndsay said...

Good lord woman, I thought I loved you before, but this just throws it over the top.

Disclaimer: As an HR Director, I am going through health insurance renewals now. *pulling clumps of hair out by the fistful*

Chaka said...

I work with insurance and listen to people complain about their increasing premiums every renewal. I feel bad for many of the people who can't afford their coverage and even worse for the uninsurable. BTW- I haven't had health insurance all year because it's too expensive.

Comedy Goddess said...

Thank you! I am so glad you have strong facts here.
PS
Planting shills in the audience is so low and underhanded. Evildoers!!

Coffee with Cathy said...

Thanks so much for contributing reasonably and intelligently to the ongoing conversation on this topic. Appreciated your insights.

K said...

It's funny how being a parents changes your perspective sometimes. It breaks my heart that people don't have adequate health care in this country.

I'm willing to pay higher taxes for it (even if we are well insured since my husband works for the federal government).

Steven G said...

It's so good to hear real people speak up about real issues. This entire health care situation reminds me about the time I went out into the jungle one morning to find some wood to make a drum for my father's birthday.

I was surprised to smell the odor of wet chickens...and then a man who said he was a "Republican" molested me and stole me from my family. He even played "Sail Away" by Randy Newman on his CD player as he fondled me on the way to my new home that he called, "My New AMERICA".

Far Side of Fifty said...

It is getting more scary everyday, 425% profit and they boot you out of their plan if you get sick..they can't make money off of people who are sick. My recent Hospital stay of 26 hours..the bill was over $8,000 and I am sure I have not seen all the bills yet. For radiologists and lord knows what all. We do have great insurance..our share will be about $300 but we pay huge health insurance premiums too.
I don't know what the answer is..I do know that Washington will most likely mess it all up:(

Terri said...

Thank you ... thsnk you ... thank you for posting this!!

anymommy said...

I still feel like Michelle. I just don't understand the current proposals enough to get behind them, I'm not against them, I'm just, not sure. I do understand the need to reduce costs and cover the under and uninsured. I've read so many posts on this subject and learned a lot, from the posts and the comments.

Flames Fan said...

What you forget to mention is, of those "uninsured", 26 million (estimated) are illegal aliens and about 15 million are those who CHOOSE NOT to have coverage (young and taking their chances or wealthy and don't want it).

The actual number of uninsured that are truly without any insurance coverage of any type (including COBRA, medicare and medicaid) is more like 5 or 6 million.

Tackle COBRA reform before putting more debt on the backs of our children.

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