The Republicans are trying their damnest to derail what they call “Obamacare” by having the Supreme Court declare certain portions unconstitutional. It looks like troglodyte Scalia and c. are leaning toward doing just that. Why not? They get the finest healthcare in the land.
In the meantime, 50 million Americans have exactly zero health care insurance (that’s 1 in 6). Physician Dr. George Lundberg said it best: “The for-profit American health insurance industry — and many of those not-for-profit lookalikes — is a poster child for the triumph of poorly-regulated and misplaced capitalism in a historically fundamental service profession.”
As a breast cancer survivor, I had approximately eight doctors at the same time. Every single one of them despised the insurance system. Here’s a typically insane example: I needed a year’s worth of infusions of a life-saving drug called Herceptin. HOWEVER, my insurance would not approve this treatment until it was proved that my white cell count was low. I was going through chemo, and every single chemo patient’s white cell count drops, no exceptions. Just a little ploy to put added stress on me.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act broached by Obama has already had a powerful effect. Allowing young people up to 26 to stay on their parents’ plans has added 2.5 million to the ranks of the insured (at no cost to taxpayers).  The Plan also provides that by 2014, insurers can’t deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. This is unequivocally A GOOD THING. If I happen to get cancer again (I’ve already had it twice) and I happen to get laid off (as I was when Washington Mutual melted in its pyroclastic flow), then I don’t have to die in a gutter, whimpering about “The Greatest Country On Earth.”
While documentarian and activist Michael Moore was making Sicko, his expose’ of the healthcare game, he discovered some interesting facts:
It’s a picture of cheer, isn’t it? Let’s look at some of the most egregious “denials of service” which have taken place recently:
- When 17-year-old college student Jerome Mitchell tested positive for HIV in 2002, his health insurance company retroactively annulled his coverage. Happily, he was ultimately awarded $10 million.
- In 2002, a woman was denied coverage since rape was considered “a pre-existing condition.” Interesting logic.
- In 2009, domestic violence qualified as a pre-existing condition in eight states and the District of Columbia.
- In 2008, shortly before Robin Beaton was scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy, her insurance company revoked her policy. Beaton, a breast cancer patient, never disclosed that she’d previously seen a dermatologist for acne, a condition her insurer, Blue Cross, said qualified as a pre-existing condition. And acne is related to breast cancer because. . .?
- In 2007, CIGNA refused to pay for the liver transplant 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan because it was “too experimental.” Due to public pressure, CIGNA reversed its decision but – oops!—too late: Nataline died the same day.
The state of Arizona and its fascist Governor Brewer has caused the death of two transplant candidates by cutting funds to their Medicaid organ transplant program.  So if you’re an immigrant and need a transplant, please crawl over the border and die!
On the other side of this issue lies the obscene salaries/benefits of America’s healthcare insurance execs. Amazingly, THREE OF THEM make the Forbes 2012 List of Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs:
1. Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group, whose one-year compensation totaled $48.8 million.
2. Omicare’s CEO, with $98.3 million
3. The Grand Daddy of them all, John Hammergren of McKesson Corp, who pulled in $145.3 million for compensation, according to the LA Times.
So can we assume that this business is profitable? You bet your backless hospital gown it is! “In the midst of a deep economic recession, America’s health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009, a year that saw 2.7 million people lose their private coverage.” To celebrate, Blue Cross of CA decided to raise its annual premiums by 39%. Those guys!
But perhaps the most insidious and distasteful aspect of this whole industry was revealed by the testimony of Linda Peeno before Congress. Peeno, who had been a high-level Humana and Blue Cross/Shield case worker, confirmed that agents were given BONUSES for denying customers healthcare. Here are her powerful words: “I contend that ‘managed care,’ as we currently know it, is inherently unethical in its organization and operation. Furthermore, I maintain that we have an industry which can exist only through flagrant ethical violations against individuals and the public.”
So as the GOP tries its best to deny health insurance to as many people as possible; while families are shattered, emotionally and financially, by illnesses they cannot afford to treat; while fat cat for-profit execs luxuriate in the highest salaries in the nation,; our present system, corrupt to the core, continues to grind on. Would it really be so terrible if every American had affordable health insurance, so we wouldn’t have to cringe in terror every time we were laid off? Or is this considered as “Socialist” as Emma Goldman hurling a bomb? Grow up, conservatives. Let’s not fuck with people’s lives. Let Capitalism out the back door so that benefits are available for all.