Thursday, June 18, 2009

So you think our health care system is O.K. as it is?

This is from the Washington Monthly.

Executives of three of the nation's largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive. [...]

An investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations showed that health insurers WellPoint Inc., UnitedHealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

It also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

The insurance companies are as bad as our financial institutions. They are full of greedy people who have absolutely no other interests other than making money. This is sick. How could a company actually do this? And how can this really be legal? It seems to me that the insurance companies are breaking their contacts with their policy holders. How can they do this?

Here’s more.

The insurance industry -- you know, the one conservative lawmakers and the AMA are so desperate to protect at all costs -- has this unpleasant habit called "rescission." Customers have insurance, and they pay their premiums, but once they get sick and require expensive medical treatment, the companies drop the coverage.

And in testifying before Congress, executives of these insurers not only confirmed the rescission practice, but said they had no plans to change the money-saving tactic.

One executive said rescission is about "stopping fraud and material misrepresentations that contribute to spiraling healthcare costs." So, for example, when a woman in Texas was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her insurer dropped her coverage because the company found an instance in which she visited a dermatologist for acne, and didn't tell the insurance company about it. This, the insurer said, was an example of "fraud and material misrepresentation."

Yeah, “stopping fraud and material misrepresentation.” Uh huh. God, what assholes. And they really don't even care what Congress thinks about this. No shame. No sense of wrong doing. Nope. We don't care that people are dying because of our actions. Not our problem. And we will praise our employees for saving us money!

We need a public option for healthcare coverage for every single person in this country. Perhaps when these insurance companies actually have real competition will they stop these tactics. I don’t even have an adjective that fits right now. I don’t believe in the afterlife, but if I did, Hell would be much too nice a place for people like this.

This is some of what I was referring to in my last post. A society that really cared about its populace would never allow things like this to happen. I am really pissed.

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