Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Health Care Insurers Chutzpah or Confidence?

Last week I wrote to my Senators and Congressman:

The House and Senate needs to quit carrying the insurance industry water on their trigger proposal and other delaying techniques. Congress needs to represent the people. We, the people, want universal single payer health care. We're willing to discuss public 'option' just so long as it does not become the insurance companies' dumping ground for so called "uninsurable" high risk/high cost patients and allow the insurance companies to cherry pick the least risk patients. The public option must be a real option for people and be operated in such a way that it stays competitive with private for-profit companies.

Senator Reid and Congresswoman Pelosi are not demonstrating adequate leadership in this area. They appear to be beholding to the insurance companies and are ignoring the electorate. Universal health care is this generation's watershed issue. Please get on board and support real health care reform. Just kicking this issue down the road and trusting that for-profit companies will cut costs is unacceptable. The trigger options are unacceptable. We all remember how the problems with the prescription drug legislation were going to be fixed later and here years and years later we still have that donut hole in coverage and no negotiating for prices. This time we need real reform -- not a flawed half way measure and another empty promise of fixing it later.

Any legislator that compromises on this opportunity to reform health care will have to answer for this when they come up for re-election. This is not an issue that can be swept under the rug. You will be held accountable for your vote and leadership on this issue.

Years ago fire departments were all privately owned and for profit. We, the people, saw that there was a public interest to bring them into the public sphere and out of private hands. I'm sure the fire companies of their day stalled, whined, and threatened their public officials so they could hold onto their power and profit. But the public need was more important and today fire departments are publicly financed and managed. We are now at another watershed time in history. Basic universal health care is too important to be left to private for-profit companies. It is a public need and the public needs to finance and manage it.

Please support universal single-payer health care reform. Stand up for the people, not private for-profit interests.

This week they heard directly from our friendly health insurance companies.

Top executives of UnitedHealth's Golden Rule Insurance Co., Assurant Health and WellPoint Inc., appearing Tuesday before the the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, told angry lawmakers they would not confine such rescissions to cases in which intentional fraud on the part of the policyholder can be shown, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

I wonder if our Congress people are capable of connecting the dots. We need to get rid of these vampires who have been sucking insurance premiums from us and then when faced with maybe paying out something, recission us, canceling health insurance policies retroactively. Heads they win, tails we loose. Even faced with the (remote) possibility of a single-payer universal health care, these vampires refuse to change their practice of recission.

I'd say they had chutzpah but they are instead probably confident that they've bought the house and senate and have nothing to worry about.

UPDATE 6-17 PM -- Here's the response I got from Sen Murray:
. . . Recently, I joined with my colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, of which I am a senior member, to introduce the "Affordable Healthy Choices Act." This legislation reduces health care costs, allows Americans to keep the coverage they have if they want it, and makes health insurance affordable to those who do not have it today.

I am particularly proud that as we work to offer quality, affordable coverage to all Americans, that we have included provisions to support programs that would increase the number of Americans going into health care professions to ensure our system has enough workers to provide much needed care. . .

What does that mean?

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