Friday, June 26, 2009

When It Comes To Health Care Reform, Who Can You Trust? John Kerry?


One of us? Or one of them?

Let me start by listing the half dozen top recipients of legalized bribes-- so-called campaign donations-- from the Insurance Giants who have spent so lavishly to keep Congress from enacting robust, workable health care reform:

John McCain (R-AZ)- $2,885,602 ($8,712,461)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)- $2,202,046 ($1,437,265)
John Kerry (D-MA)- $1,395,617 ($8,162,141)
Ben Nelson (D-NE)- $1,210,299 ($1,015,266)
Max Baucus (D-NE)- $1,182,613 ($2,853,781)
Arlen Specter (R-D-PA)- $1,037,205 ($4,048,133)

The dollar figures in parenthesis, in case anyone is interested, is how much the Medical-Industrial Complex "donated" to these fine gentlemen. Kerry doesn't even need the money. He's the richest member of Congress. With a fortune of at least $231 million, only Congressmembers Jane Harman, who like Kerry, married wealth and Darrell Issa, a successful burglar and car thief, come anywhere close. And the next wealthiest member of the Senate is a Rockefeller worth only a third of what Kerry reports.

I don't trust rich people to do the right thing for ordinary working families when push comes to shove. I have a gut feeling that senators who come from working families-- like Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley-- are more likely to understand what it's like to be desperate and poor in America. There has never been a moment I really trusted John Kerry. Better than a Republican? Of course. But really trustworthy for working families. Not to my mind.

And Wednesday evening, according to HuffPo's Ryan Grim, he put his cards on the table and the cards were exactly the ones Big Insurance wanted played: the "trigger" they've been plotting to use to derail the public option.
Under the plan floated by Kerry, a public health care option would only be triggered by private insurance companies failing to meet certain criteria after ten years. Known as the "trigger" in legislative lingo, the idea is vociferously opposed by health care advocates who consider it the death of reform.

Reform advocates say that the system is already broken and that there's no need to wait any longer, also warning that the insurance industry might be able to game the criteria and prevent the public plan trigger from ever being pulled.

Ratted out by two senate aides, Kerry is hysterical that he could be put into the same category as treacherous Democrats playing footsie with Big Business to deny Americans health care reform-- hated party poopers like Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu. Even Snarlin' Arlen, knowing full well that he could never win the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania without supporting-- at the minimum-- a public option, seems to have come around... at least a bit. He'll never be a Bernie Sanders or a Dick Durbin and he's still an opponent of single payer and someone who we'll have to watch like a hawk when it comes to the fine points of a public option, but he has moved towards one-- out of political necessity. Let's face it, Specter may be a slimebag of the first order, but his opportunism works in many ways; and in this instance might just work for regular Americans. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Blue America is doing what we can to keep 'em honest-- as Blanche Lincoln is about to find out, very, very viscerally. And we can use your help in that endeavor. Find out the details and contribute whatever you can spare here at our Campaign for Health Care Choice.

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At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I advise on several health insurance boards such as , , and I often quote the Switzerland health care system as an example of tough questions that we as a nation will have to answer someday, if we go down the path of nationalized government health care plan. We’ll have to at some point draw the line in the sand and refuse further care for patients receiving critical illness treatments, intensive care unit, trauma care, acute management services, disease management, neonatal intensive-care unit for newborns and seniors in extended care treatment nearing hospice stage . Did you know that premature babies are not resuscitated upon birth if they cannot draw breath in Switzerland? Did you also know that holds true with “senior care” experiencing system failure or multiple organ failures requiring support? Another example, they don't extend the life of a senior via medical equipment such as intubation or respiration for multiple organ failures. Not to be morbid….they are unplugged and allowed to pass. Anyone in the business of paying claims knows that the single most expensive bill in what carriers call “shock loss” is within NICU for newborns and seniors in acute / intensive care / hospital in the last three months of life.
The Swiss apparently made decisions made based upon cost vs. quality outcome. Are we as a nation prepared to make that type of decision or to define when to incubate, resuscitate a newborn or a senior? Are we ready to define the conditions and rules of medical procedures with organ failure? With a litigious society I think not. This is why we need TORT REFORM. Without TORT REFORM medical provider costs will never drop. Liability costs with medical providers are nearly half of operating expenses. Humana health plans state that their costs of medical liability and defensive medicine accounts for nearly 10 cents out of every premium dollar collected. Compare that to Humana’s reported pharmaceutical claims of 15 cents out of every premium dollar collected. Or better yet, 21 cents out of every premium dollar collected is paid back to physicians for physician treatments. The cost of litigation is only obvious with Humana health plans. I sit on the board with several other health insurance carriers. Their books all show similar costs. They basically insure a shrinking populace that is mostly made up of people that only buy insurance because they need it. So is mandatory participation such a bad idea?
I don't think we are hearing about TORT REFORM because most of the house and senate on the federal level are lawyers and have practicing law firm interest’s. In the healthcare system there is no total innocence. We hear about insurance executives with bonuses, doctors overbilling, hospitals overbilling because the street gang thug got dropped at their ER door with no insurance. The lawyers are there to stir the pot and promise lavish fortune at the end of the PERCEIVED misery chain. Am I saying we don’t need them? No, but I am saying there is clear and documented abuse of the legal system that awards outlandish claims in the millions for a questionable mistake. Are ambulance chasers not sociably recognized as being the most abusive? What about those that educate their clients on defraud and then use the legal system to pirate insurers?
I sure wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of these serious decisions that we will have to make. My senator claims that the government would be held blameless but what about the medical provider that has to make the call? What about the insurance payer that has to deny continued care for an infant that will not survive? Without serious TORT REFORM we aren’t going to get costs down or have good people make headway.


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