Jun 22

Change we can believe in!

See also: Obama exempt from Obamacare (Washington Times)


Americans buying their own health insurance face an average 20 percent increase in premiums, driving some toward cheaper plans with fewer benefits, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

An estimated 14 million U.S. individuals under age 65 purchase coverage themselves, rather than through an employer, according to a Kaiser report released today. About 77 percent of them got a premium increase, said the Menlo Park, California- based nonprofit, which surveyed 1,038 buyers of their own individual and family health insurance between March 19 and April 2.

What’s driving up costs and how much is a fair rate increase are issues of debate among regulators and insurers, said Drew Altman, Kaiser’s chief executive officer and president. “If you’re being hit with a 20 percent increase and inflation is negligible and your wages aren’t going up, that on its face is an unreasonable increase,” Altman said. “You will never convince a consumer that’s a reasonable increase when wages and inflation are flat.”

About 60 percent of policyholders paid the higher bills, while 16 percent switched to a less expensive plan, according to Kaiser. Of those who changed coverage, nearly half said their new policy offered fewer benefits.

Costs Increase

“Health insurance premiums are rising because medical costs continue to soar and because younger and healthier people are choosing to drop their insurance during a weak economy,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group based in Washington. “That’s driving up costs for everyone else.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Apr 23

Reuters has removed the article. See Google cache.

Just don’t get sick and PAY!

In case you get sick you will lose your mandatory health insurance.

It’s called ObamaCare.


exclusive-wellpoint-routinely-targets-breast-cancer-patients

(Reuters) – Shortly after they were diagnosed with breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled. There was Yenny Hsu, who lived and worked in Los Angeles. And there was Patricia Reilling, a successful art gallery owner and interior designer from Louisville, Kentucky.

Neither of these women knew about the other. But besides their similar narratives, they had something else in common: Their health insurance carriers were subsidiaries of WellPoint, which has 33.7 million policyholders — more than any other health insurance company in the United States.

The women paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, neither had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.

They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.

Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information. WellPoint declined to comment on the women’s specific cases without a signed waiver from them, citing privacy laws.

That tens of thousands of Americans lost their health insurance shortly after being diagnosed with life-threatening, expensive medical conditions has been well documented by law enforcement agencies, state regulators and a congressional committee. Insurance companies have used the practice, known as “rescission,” for years. And a congressional committee last year said WellPoint was one of the worst offenders.

But WellPoint also has specifically targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent to cancel their policies, federal investigators told Reuters. The revelation is especially striking for a company whose CEO and president, Angela Braly, has earned plaudits for how her company improved the medical care and treatment of other policyholders with breast cancer.

The disclosures come to light after a recent investigation by Reuters showed that another health insurance company, Assurant Health, similarly targeted HIV-positive policyholders for rescission. That company was ordered by courts to pay millions of dollars in settlements.

In his push for the health care bill, President Barack Obama said the legislation would end such industry practices.

But many critics worry the new law will not lead to an end of these practices. Some state and federal regulators — as well as investigators, congressional staffers and academic experts — say the health care legislation lacks teeth, at least in terms of enforcement or regulatory powers to either stop or even substantially reduce rescission.

“People have this idea that someone is going to flip a switch and rescission and other bad insurance practices are going to end,” says Peter Harbage, a former health care adviser to the Clinton administration. “Insurers will find ways to undermine the protections in the new law, just as they did with the old law. Enforcement is the key.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr 11

Obama is just another elite puppet president.


Rep. Ron Paul at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference

(April 10, 2010)


NEW ORLEANS–Republicans and tea party activists are fond of accusing President Barack Obama of being a socialist, but today party gadfly Ron Paul said they had it wrong.

“In the technical sense, in the economic definition, he is not a socialist,” the Texas Republican said to a smattering of applause at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

“He’s a corporatist,” Paul quickly added, meaning the president takes “care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 12

The Insurance Companies ‘Are The Real Death Panels In This Country.’


The video is Grayson’s speech on the House floor Tuesday, uploaded to YouTube.

Progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) isn’t giving up on offering Americans a public option.

The congressman on Tuesday introduced the four-page H.R. 4789 “Public Option Act,” also called the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” would allow all legal American residents under 65 to enroll in Medicare by paying a fee. He made a passionate call for a vote on the floor of the House.

“The government spent billions of dollars creating a Medicare network of providers that is only open to one-eighth of the population,” Grayson said. “That’s like saying, ‘Only people 65 and over can use federal highways.’  It is a waste of a very valuable resource and it is not fair.  This idea is simple, it makes sense, and it deserves an up-or-down vote.”

The inclusion of a public option in the larger Democratic health care legislation has been a topic of immense debate. The Senate dropped the proposal in December and the final package is unlikely to include it. A Medicare buy-in option was also briefly considered but didn’t survive.

The Florida freshman described the “adversarial relationship” he had with his insurance company when his bills skyrocketed during the birth of his twins, who were born early and spent months in the hospital. He said many Americans face similar problems, and that “every penny they spent on my care was a penny less for their profits.”

“America needs a public option,” he declared, lamenting the lack of competition in the private insurance industry. “That’s why I’ve introduced this bill.”

Seeking to clear up any doubts about the proposal, Grayson noted that it’s “not a plan for subsidies” as “everyone would have to pay their own costs.”

He labeled insurance companies “the real death panels in this country” due to their widely-documented practices of denying care due to people with pre-existing conditions and rescinding coverage from sick patients. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mar 09

Labels it a ‘bailout’ for the insurance industry

dennis-kucinich

Facing razor-thin margins in the House, Democratic leaders are hoping to convert the sole liberal who opposes their health care bill, but it seems they have their work cut out because he isn’t budging.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on Monday defended his opposition to the proposal in an appearance on MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann, citing as his central concern its lack of a robust public option to provide competition for insurance companies.

“This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry,” Kucinich said. “$70 billion dollars a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance, five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar 05

1 Dodd, Chris (D-CT) Senate $258,400
2 Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) Senate $195,100
3 Pomeroy, Earl (D-ND) House $157,900
4 Frank, Barney (D-MA) House $147,499
5 Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) Senate $147,300
6 Kanjorski, Paul E (D-PA) House $144,200
7 Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) Senate $139,450
8 Cantor, Eric (R-VA) House $130,750
9 Bean, Melissa (D-IL) House $129,700
10 Burr, Richard (R-NC) Senate $127,500 Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Jan 25

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Paul Craig Roberts

At my annual check-up, my doctor handed me a sheet explaining the reasons for office fee increases for Medicare Patients. It is worth reporting at length.

Medicare fixes the prices for Medicare patients’ health care. All office charges for Medicare, including office visit charges, have been set by the Federal government since 1984. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), these fixed prices are less today than they were three decades ago.

During the last four years, there have been large decreases in Medicare reimbursements for laboratory services provided in-house by private physicians. Payments for in-office blood work, for example, have been cut 35 to 47 per cent. Yet, a physician’s overhead continues to increase as a result of uncontrollable costs, such as property taxes, building insurance, electricity, maintenance, malpractice and workers compensation insurance.

As one result, my doctor had to close both the x-ray unit and the state and federally licensed medical laboratory on his premises. Now patients are inconvenienced by having to go to other locations for services that formerly were provided by the doctor at lower cost. A one day medical check-up is now a multiple day event and more expensive.

While Medicare payments to doctors have been cut, regulations have been increasing: “Almost every outside diagnostic procedure (CT, MRI scan, sonogram) ordered by this office now has to be pre-approved by some outside agency. Many medications are now requiring pre-approval or step therapy. Each requires filling out 1-2 pages of forms and/or two or more phone calls. This requires personnel time and therefore more cost. Consultant referrals are requiring more paperwork and time to schedule.”

My doctor has more people employed doing paperwork than he does delivering health care.

While Medicare payments for in-office services to private doctors, including those for blood work and x-ray units, were drastically cut, payments to outside corporate facilities for the same services were increased. It is obvious what is afoot. Corporate lobbies are using their whores in Congress to shift income from physician offices to corporate labs, corporate medical service providers, and hospitals that are owned by national corporations.

Legislation that cuts payments to private physicians and increases the payments to large corporate entities is intended to destroy private practice and to create in its place corporate bureaucracies in which doctors are wage slaves. The physician’s income is diverted to shareholders, CEO bonuses, and Wall Street. Health care is being replaced with health business.

As a result of the way American medicine is being reconstructed, patients will cease to have a doctor whom they know and who knows them. Important information is lost in a system of bureaucratized “health care” in which a patient sees whatever face happens to be on duty at the corporate provider. Impersonal health care thus brings a cost of its own, and its quality can be low compared to private practice. Indeed, the U.S. is creating a “health care” system that is more costly and less efficient than single-payer national health systems. But it will enrich corporations and provide play for Wall Street.

It turns one’s stomach to watch libertarians and “free market economists” defend bureaucratized impersonal health care as “free market medicine.” There is no free market present. Corporate lobbies and campaign contributions use government power to create bureaucratized monopolies that destroy medicine for the practitioner and the patient. Wall Street pushes for greater shareholder earnings, which are achieved by denying care.

Just as independent businesses have been destroyed by corporate chains from Wal-Mart to auto parts to fast food, medicine is being destroyed by monopoly capital. The risks of starting a private business today are many times higher than they were a half century ago. Chains have turned Americans who once were independent business men and women into employees.

The fate of the health care bill demonstrates the power of private lobbies. What was to be health care for Americans was instantly transformed into 30 million new patients for the private health insurance industry. The “solution” to tens of millions of Americans being unable to afford health care is a law that requires them to purchase a private health care policy or be annually fined. As most of these uninsured Americans cannot afford to purchase a private policy, the plan is for the federal government to use taxpayers’ money to subsidize their purchase of a policy from private companies.

In other words, tax money is being diverted to the pockets of private businesses. This is par for the course in “capitalist” America. Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 03

President Obama Lobbies Senate, Favors Insurance Industry Version of Health Care Reform

The US Government: Bought and Paid For

Fall Of The Republic – The Presidency Of Barack H. Obama (The Full Movie HQ)



This video was broadcast by MSNBC on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009.

According to Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the Democrats’ health reform legislation is basically a sham.

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Ed Show on Friday night, the House’s most unabashed progressive condemned Democratic leadership for removing his amendment that would allow states to create their own single-payer systems. Then he called the entire legislative package “a bailout for insurance companies.”

Under a single-payer system, like those in Canada and the United Kingdom, the government pools taxpayer funds to pay for citizens’ health care and fees are not collected by health care providers. The Kucinich amendment would allow individual states an opt-in to such a system.

The amendment is missing from health reform legislation unveiled Thursday by Democratic leadership.

“Representative Kucinich was livid when he found out that his provision to allow states to create a single payer system was stripped,” News Junkie Post noted. “Kucinich’s amendment passed the House Labor and Education Committee in July. ‘No one gave me any rational reason,’ Kucinich said. ‘I can only assume the insurance company interests brought pressure to take it out. Otherwise I would have heard from someone.'”

“The [committee] vote was 25 to 19, with support coming from an odd mix of liberal Democrats who support single-payer on its merits and conservative Republicans who want to preserve the rights of states to regulate themselves,” The Washington Independent noted at the time.

“The removal of the Kucinich amendment constitutes yet another capitulation to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries who are already reaping billions of dollars from the bill,” reads a statement from the congressman’s office on Thursday.

Under the revised public option, “Pelosi and her team have proposed a plan that would not make payments for care based on Medicare rates …” CBS News’s John Nichols noted. “Rather, under the Pelosi plan, the rates be tied to those of the big insurance companies. That’s a big, big victory for the insurance industry, as it will undermine the ability of the public option to compete — and to create pressure for reduced costs.”

Speaking to liberal MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Friday, Kucinich continued his assault on the legislation.

“I think we need the support of the American people to say, look, you need that state single-payer amendment in the bill to make it credible,” the congressman said. “I mean, what are people giving up already? They’re being mandated to buy private insurance. If you read the bill, the people are going to end up paying — the insurance companies can raise rates 25 percent right off the bat, if you read the bill.”

Schultz encouraged Kucinich to repeat himself on that point.

“It’s on page 22 of the bill,” he replied. “Right here, it says that rates shall be set at a level that does not exceed 125 percent of the prevailing standard rate for comparable coverage in the individual market. Now … It’s very easy to understand what that means.”

“It’s not reform,” Schultz insisted.

“It means a 25 percent increase, they’ll have the ability to execute and since insurance companies have already raised rates for the last four years by double-digits, we can expect — based on the bill — another rate increase by the insurance companies.”

Schultz called the bill a “sellout” to insurers because the bill only allows 11 million people into a limited government-run health insurance option, and includes a mandate for Americans to buy private policies.

“Maybe instead of a sellout it’s a bailout,” Kucinich responded. “Maybe what we’re looking at here is another way that Wall Street’s speculative engine can be fueled, this time with the help of the premiums of tens of millions of Americans.” Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Oct 25

Change!

Fall Of The Republic – The Presidency Of Barack H. Obama (The Full Movie HQ)

The US Government: Bought and Paid For


obama-reid-talk-02

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan “triggered” into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama’s presidential campaign. The man who ran on the “Audacity of Hope” has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,