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September 16th, 2009
Last week we (or “current resident”) received a slick 4-color 6×10 card stock mailer that looks at first glance to have come from our NC-11 congressional rep, Heath Shuler. At the top the reverse-on-blue header reads:
“Congressman Shuler Is Fighting To Make Medicare Prescription Coverage Even Better”
and on the bottom reverse-on-red the italicized message reads:
“Call Congressman Health Shuler today at 202-224-3121. Tell him thanks for fighting to improve Medicare without making seniors pay more, and ask him to keep on fighting until we get the job done.”
The wording struck me a little odd. Why would Heath tell me to thank him for his notably atrocious Blue Dog position on health care reform? I mean, it’s not like he cares what Democrats in his district have to say about the issue. So I flipped the mailer over and read on the bottom of the address/postage space:
“Paid for by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.”
Whoa. Billy Tauzin’s notorious PhRMA lobby. The one that got a secret back-room deal with Obama before this issue ever got to committees in the House and Senate. And who are now sending deceptive mailers like this all over the country as part of a $150 million PR campaign to promote their continued obscene profits on the backs of senior citizens, while the mandate to force all citizens to purchase junk policies from the for-profit insurance industry amounts to a ~$12,000 per year (plus steep annual hikes at four or more times the rate of inflation) tax increase on the middle class. Earmarked directly to the Murder-by-Spreadsheet crime syndicate, this porker is uglier than Hogzilla.
FACT: According to an analysis of the proposed Part D changes by the Wall Street Journal, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that any decrease in average spending on prescriptions by seniors will more than be made up for by an increase in premiums seniors must pay for Part D. CBS News reported that CBO has confirmed seniors will be paying 20% more for Part D coverage by 2019 under this giveaway to Big Pharma.
FACT: The Baucus plan also abets another huge giveaway to insurers by allowing them to charge older people (age 50-64) up to five times as much as younger people for the insurance policies everyone will be required to purchase.
FACT: The per capita (per person) cost of ALL health care in the U.S. per year comes to right about $3,750. That is all care, for all people, insured and uninsured, Medicare, VA, Medicaid, SCHIP and charity. Why would anyone want to pay $12,000 a year for what actually costs $3,750? A government-run single-payer system could be paid for by graduated taxation based on actual costs and those taxes would be far cheaper even to the richest of the rich than the cost of a single for-profit insurance policy.
According to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics Shuler has received the following contributions from shady players:
$195,262 from the health sector employees and PACs.
$13,750 from health insurance companies.
$74,800 from Big Pharma.
$77,062 from health professionals.
$27,900 from hospitals.
$10,500 from the nursing home industry.
$399,274 in total. Now, the figures from CRP are what the Blue Dogs (individually) have received since 1989 from the PACs and pools of various health related industries, but Shuler’s only been in office since 2007. So that’s quite the hefty haul over less than three years!
Below is the letter I have written in response to this blatant insult from the Drug Pusher’s Union Propaganda Squad…
Continue reading »
September 3rd, 2009
Since January 20 of this year – which was more than eight months ago – we’ve been handed some rather clever lines of defense for the things Barack Obama is NOT doing with his executive power, with his supermajority in the Senate, or his eminently workable majority in the House. Things we the voters gave him in the first actual electoral mandate of the 21st century last November. We voted for change. We haven’t gotten any.
We’ve been told Obama’s “got this” because he can shoot hoops in the WH basement with skill, and grab flies out of the air like a Kung Fu master. We’ve been told Obama’s playing “multidimensional chess” with his opponents by continuing every single one of the illegal and anti-democratic policies of his Neocon predecessor. And now, with the health insurance reform debate gone all Town Hall during recess, we are told we don’t really need health insurance reform, single payer health care, or even a public option to facilitate the expected mandate we’ll be handed that forces us to pay more money than we’ve got to the murder-by-spreadsheed for-profit industry.
We still have “state secrets” privilege on who’s lobbying in the Oval Office. We still have DADT in the military. We still have two illegal wars going, a new third front opened in Columbia, off-the-books deficits accumulated by the fact that there’s twice as many paid mercenaries in those war zones than U.S. soldiers, we’re still rendering and torturing “detainees” who haven’t been charged with any crimes and haven’t been afforded the status of POWs, and we’re still bailing out Wall Street gamblers to the tune of multiple trillions while not even beginning to address reinstating necessary regulations.
A plethora of Democratic/Progressive activist groups have sprung up to pressure Congress and the White House on these issues as well as health insurance reform, letter-writing campaigns, calls and emails to representatives and senators, mass demonstrations… You name it, it’s being done. And what we get from the WH is insults and dismissals as those of us anywhere to the left of center are repeatedly told to STFU.Balance of Power, Barack Obama, Class War, Corruption, Debates, Democrats, DNC, Elections, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Legislation, Outrage, Party Platforms, Policy, Protests, Torture, Universal Care, War Crimes | Comment (0)
August 4th, 2009
Something insurance reform won’t fix
a medical disorder caused by the diagnosis, manner or treatment of a physician.
Iatros is the Greek word for physician. -genic means induced by. Iatrogenic disease is a disease caused by a physician. Given the sheer complexity and technological wonders of modern Western [allopathic] medicine have led to some stretching of the strict meaning of the term, which is now applied to ANY adverse effect associated with ANY medical practitioner or treatment. Thus it can be used to describe the cancers caused (years down the line) by radiation and radioactive isotopes used to treat initial problems, prescription errors, hospital-contracted infections, problems caused when a surgeon leaves an instrument or two in the patient, a chiropractor who breaks the patient’s neck, etc., etc.
When I was busy educating myself as much as possible when my daughter determined to have her baby at home, I discovered that the nations that have the best statistical outcomes – fewest maternal and infant deaths or injuries – actually encourage home births because hospitals are dangerous places to both mothers and infants. They’re dangerous places for anyone these days, it seems. According to statistics compiled by OurCivilization.com, there are 8.9 million “unnecessary” hospitalizations every year in this country, which lead directly to 1.78 million “Iatrogenic Events.” Of 7.5 million “unnecessary” procedures ordered annually by physicians, another 1.3 million patients suffer direct harm. That adds up to 16.4 million people channeled into a harmful situation by their medical providers every year, and 3.8 million cases of direct harm to those people that they otherwise would not have suffered.Class War, Debates, Economics, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Outrage, Universal Care | Comment (0)
July 29th, 2008
Stephanie Woolhandler, M.D. of Harvard Medical School testified before the President’s Council on Bioethics this past week about her experiences with [non]health care in Amerika. The council was created in 2001 to ‘advise’ the president on bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedical science and technology.
Single-payer, “Medicare for All” type reform is drastically needed as the US falls farther and farther away from the so-called ‘Modern World’ in terms of the general health, life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality rates, and the sheer number of hard-working citizens who will die without any medical care at all because they simply have no access and cannot afford it.
“I’ve seen people die because of co-payments and deductibles.”
There are an estimated 47 million Americans with no insurance. And as more and more of them are losing their jobs and their homes as the economy descends into depression, that number will rise dramatically. An estimated 18,000 Americans Die every year because they have no health insurance or money to pay thousands of dollars’ worth of deductibles and co-pays for the junk insurance they do have. Fully one half of personal bankruptcies in this country are the result of getting sick or injured. 76% of those filers HAD insurance when they got sick or injured, but the deductibles and co-pays bankrupted them anyway.Activism, Class War, Eugenics, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Universal Care | Comment (0)
July 22nd, 2008
As the economy continues to slip deeper into recession and the Presidential race becomes ever more one-sided in favor of real change, America’s Health Insurance Plans [AHIP] are hitting the road to defend their practice of “Murder By Spreadsheet.” Or, as one energetic activist calls the offensive, the Deceive America Tour.
AHIP is the trade and political lobbying association of DC insiders and overpaid executives for the health insurance industry. The industry that has wrecked health care delivery by bankrupting public hospitals, been targeted for racketeering suits under RICO, routinely refuses to pay claims while throwing families into bankruptcy, and continues to cripple American business competition in foreign trade with nations whose businesses do not hold primary responsibility for citizens’ health care costs.
2007 estimates of the number of uninsured Americans reached more than 75 million adults – 42% of all adults age 19 to 64 were uninsured or ‘underinsured’ – and the US has fallen to 47th in the world on life expectancy at birth. This week AHIP launched its Campaign for an American Solution tour in Columbus, Ohio, purporting to have A Plan to cure America’s health care woes without having to pay for any sick people’s actual health care or forego their profit margins, golden parachutes, luxury limousines and multi-million dollar salaries.
AHIP calls it a “listening tour” outreach, which means they’re quite likely to encounter some loud protests wherever they go in this effort to protect their bottom lines from reality. The speculative futures market in human suffering is just far too lucrative to lose, and the insurance hacks illegally practicing medicine these days have no intention of backing down.
Please check out the tour schedule for when these folks will be coming to your area, then you may wish to contact one of the single-payer activist groups listed below to lend your presence to the protests. It’s well past time for America to join the modern world.
Everybody In & Nobody Out supports state organizations working at the grassroots level for universal care, and offers links to those state organizations. You can also find lists of state groups in your state at the other national organization sites.Filed under Activism, Class War, Coalitions, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Marketing | Comment (0)
March 8th, 2008
A toe-tapping Austin Lounge Lizards take on the health insurance industry, only this time instead of Guido and the Goons, we get Cap’n Kaiser and his notorious crew of murder by spreadsheet bottom-feeders!
Enjoy!Filed under Corruption, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Humor, RICO Lawsuits, Universal Care | Comment (0)
February 13th, 2008
If you’re middle class (like most of us), you know about how health insurance premiums keep going up, covering less, and robbing you of more than your COL increments every year. In my post Health Insurance Racket as Organized Crime I outlined the details of how two of New York City’s major public health care providers filed RICO suits against UHC and its underlings.
Because it is a racket, it’s bankrupting citizens everywhere, and now it’s all the way to closing important hospitals DOWN because they can’t get insurance to pay for care to patients who *are* insured. A case study in how Corporate Greed and Unbridled Lust for Profit can end up destroying the entire fabric of the nation on which these corporate raiders depend for their very life.
Today New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a formal Intent To Sue action against the database company Ingenix – owned by the same parent company as UHC – for its fraudulent manipulation of the database most insurance companies use to set reimbursement rates for out-of-network medical expenses.
The United insurers and many other health insurance companies relied on the Ingenix database to determine their “reasonable and customary” rates. The Ingenix database used the insurers’ billing information to calculate a “reasonable and customary” rate for individual claims by assessing how much a similar type of medical service would typically cost, generally taking into account the type of service, physician, and geographical location. However, the investigation showed that the “reasonable and customary” rates produced by Ingenix were remarkably lower than the actual cost of typical medical expenses.
Links:For-Profit Insurance, Government Lawsuits, Health Care, RICO Lawsuits, Universal Care | Comment (1)
February 5th, 2008
Now that I’m over my disappointment in the sudden withdrawal of John Edwards from the nomination race, I’m back to officially “undecided.” I’ve reservations about both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, beginning on the policy side with health care.
Since both Clinton and Obama developed their plans while taking large campaign contributions from insurers, it’s not surprising that their plans are “insurer-friendly.” Both involve mandates requiring citizens to purchase health insurance from an insurance company. Both avoid highlighting problems with the way insurance works as the reason our system is in such outrageous disarray.Barack Obama, Campaigns, Class War, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Party Primaries, Presidential Candidates, SCHIP, Universal Care | Comment (1)
January 12th, 2008
“…insurers are just like shoplifters, they devise a new scheme a day.”
Michael A. Sedrish, M.D.
Director of Utilization Management
MediSys Health Network
In comments to other posts on the subject of the health care crisis in America, I have been asked to list some of the practices of health insurers that require rectification, and asked if doing away with health insurance altogether might be the best option for the country.
It is difficult to use examples from other people’s health insurance horror stories or even my own – though such horror stories are common enough – as objective justification for my belief that insurers need to be stripped of their excessive profits retroactively for at least a decade and a half (by means of punitive fines), and that a complete realignment of health care in America to single-payer, universal care is the best possible option for our society in the 21st century.Corruption, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, RICO Lawsuits, Universal Care | Comments (3)
January 11th, 2008
Wow. Just… wow. Those Moonies at the New York Post have once again proven themselves to be as evil as their megalomaniacal leader (you know, that rich Korean nut case who swears he’s Jesus Christ), taking on John Edwards and the parents of Nataline Sarkisyan in a radical hit piece entitled Edwards’ Evil Insurance Scam – I kid you not. The subtitle is even more demeaning – “Twisting Tragedy of Dead Liver Girl.”
Dead Liver Girl? Oh, for pity’s sake! Nataline’s parents contacted Edwards’ campaign headquarters after their daughter died. She died because Cigna Insurance Company denied her doctors’ pleas for a liver transplant to save her life, saying that liver transplants are “experimental.” They reversed their decision when the California Nurses Union and Armenian activists demonstrated at their headquarters, but by then Nataline was already dead. The Sarkisyans appeared at a health care forum in New Hampshire with Edwards, and have come out in support of his candidacy as well as his plan to provide health care to all Americans.Campaigns, Class War, Corruption, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Media, Slime Machine, Universal Care | Comments (3)