Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WellPoint Eats Its Young

THIS is why we need health insurance reform. This is exactly what Michael Moore was talking about — showing endless examples — in Sicko.

To paraphrase George W. Bush, you’re either with us or you’re with the HMO butchers. Or as Helen Hunt said in As Good As It Gets, “those fuckin’ HMO bastards, pieces of shit.”

WellPoint uses a computer algorithm that specifically targets women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. WellPoint then cancels the woman’s health insurance, using whatever flimsy “reason” they can dream up. Good thing we don’t have any of them socialist bureaucrats standing between a patient and her doctor.

Here’s the pattern: The woman has a well-paying job and a health insurance policy with WellPoint. She pays her premiums on time and has had no health problems. Shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer, WellPoint’s army of “investigators” will pore over every detail of her life, determined to find something — anything — that she “omitted” from her application form. When they find it, or pull it out of thin air if they have to, her insurance policy is canceled.

“Aha, you purchased a bottle of Ibuprofen in 1998. You didn’t tell us about your pre-existing headache condition. Gotcha!”

This time-honored practice is called rescission. Tens of thousands of employed, insured and paid-up policyholders have had their health insurance canceled through this process. But it’s just now come out that breast cancer patients in particular were being targeted by WellPoint.

Now, for the low-IQ inbreds who hold up signs saying “No on Obamacare,” “Socialized Medicine!” “Your Health, Your Problem” — maybe they’ll have some constructive advice for these women.

Why don’t they tell these cancer patients, face to face, to get up off their dead asses, put down the bong and get out there and get a job.

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27 Comments:

Blogger T. Paine said...

Mr. Harper, I share your outrage at this practice. It is absolutely unacceptable!

That being said, we still need to fix the health care problems. The current un-Constitutional health care law does little to fix most of these problems and actually will eventually make things far worse with a whole set of new problems.


But I guess that doesn't matter to the left as it will eventually lead to what they wanted all along... a government-sponsored single payer health care program.
After all, what could possibly go wrong with that?

April 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Tom
How the hell do these people live with themselves. Shit I feel kinda bad if I hurt someones feelings. For a Nation that's supposedly built on Judaic Christian belief their full of beans and baloney. Oh I just got it! Money is the real gawd. What happened to compassion for your fellow Man.
WellPoint I'm sure is not the exception but the Norm.

April 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger jadedj said...

Ooooooooh yeah, Wellcare. Motherfuckers of the first order. My wife and I had this piece of shit insurance a few years back. We were regularly denied claims...I do mean regularly. But for a family of four, we were paying out almost $700 per month. The crowning came when I was sent by my family physician to a specialist because she suspected that I "might" have arthritis. Wellcare denied my specialist claim, and called it pre-existing because my GP identified it. Ooooooooh yeah. The CEO of this company and his top execs should be lined up, tied to horses and quartered.

April 22, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Tom, like you I am about sick of these citizens of teabagistan and their whole "this is not in our constitution. Half of them have not even read that who9le part about taxes for the general welfare. To me a HUGE part of welfare is making sure the citizens are healthy so they can be productive little working drones. I would be totally screwed if I had to get HC before this. I live with NHL** had a horrid accident a little over a year and a half ago where I had to have brain surgery, neck surgery and shoulder surgery. If they could get away with it, some of them would just say being born is a pre existing condition so they don't have to cover you. When is that rapture thing coming anyhow, to take them all away into the sky? I wish it would come soon for them so we can be left in peace.

April 22, 2010 at 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

That being said, we still need to fix the health care problems. The current un-Constitutional health care law does little to fix most of these problems and actually will eventually make things far worse with a whole set of new problems.

Would you please, please try to educate yourself just a little bit, instead of parroting Beck all the time? You know the Constitution like I know neurosurgery.

There is absolutely, positively, NOTHING unconstitutional about the new health reform law. And the entire Western world gives the lie to your "much worse" example-or are you gonna tell us the bullshit about death panels, or 3.8 years to mend a broken arm in Canada?

Get back to reality. Your delusional fantasies are ringing more and more hollow-and insane-every day.

April 22, 2010 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Insurance is a scam, but it also is a business, a product of capitalism that exists not to provide health care to it's customers, but to make a profit. Paying claims to clients cuts into the bottom line, meaning smaller dividends and bonuses. I guess that why I'd take a government run health care program over a private one any day, because a government one would not find a way to weasel out of it's obligations to those who have paid for it's services.

April 22, 2010 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Paine that's exactly what we want and theirs not shit you can do about it.
You know what I love my Medicare too, Government run and all. I wish the rest of the country all could have it.
We're looking into subverting the constitution yet again so we can have our Kenyan leader for a third term.

April 22, 2010 at 8:57 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Tom, for some of the women cut off from their health insurance, you can bet this was a death sentence. It should be made a capital crime.

What we need immediately is a regulation that says if a company insures someone who subsequently develops a life-threatening condition or suffers a serious injury, any action to disqualify the person from coverage must be postponed until they're either out of harm's way or be undertaken against their estate, if they succumb. IOW, when a company contracts with a person to insure him or her, that contract is binding whenever, and for as long as, the person's survival is at stake.

Furthermore, any recission action must be cleared by an independent third party, and not one handpicked by the insurer.

Those measures put saving lives and restoring health where they belong: solidly ahead of maximizing profit.

I just published a post on this at Oh!pinion. The story made me so angry I had to hold off writing it until I cooled down. That's how outrageous this is.

April 23, 2010 at 1:13 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

T. Paine wrote: "But I guess that doesn't matter to the left as it will eventually lead to what they wanted all along... a government-sponsored single payer health care program."

Paine, you're on to something. Because what fuels the engine of reform is the outrageous, sometimes deadly excesses of greedy bastards like the powers that be at WellPoint.

The Reuters story, which you evidently didn't bother to read, makes clear the new health care reform law is weak and incomplete in dealing with this particular abuse. Administration officials say they can and will impose regulations to stop such practices.

The story also says WellPoint and others will find and exploit loopholes in any such measures. That rings true.

When Americans have had enough of these deadly games, they will demand the ultimate reform, which is taking health insurance out of the hands of commercial interests, whether via a public-option alternative or single payer system.

Face it, Paine, a bunch of lawmakers didn't get up one morning 105 years ago and suddenly decide the country should have strict laws against tainted foods and ineffective or dangerous medications. The Pure Food and Drug Act was enacted because innocent people were being sickened and killed, and lawmakers realized they and their loved ones weren't immune.

You can rail against liberal politicians and bureaucrats all you want, but it won't make any difference. Because the real authors of reform laws, rules, regulations and oversight authorities are the greedy bastards of the too-free market and their sometimes lethal excesses.

April 23, 2010 at 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

Wow. Shocking, yet not so much.

April 23, 2010 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger Joaquin said...

Tom, my man, you're wasting your time.
Folks here are either government employees, in state run academia, or something similar. A shred of the free-enterprise system is nowhere to be found here.
As Exhibit A. I give you Lew Scannon railing against insurance companies when the biggest health insurer and health care denier in the country is the government.

April 23, 2010 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Oh, that's right. I keep forgetting that the REAL Constitution is an outdated anachronistic document made up by a bunch of dead racist white guys.

Hence the "transformation" of the Constitution to the new "living, breathing" version we now have which means whatever the liberals in power want it to mean.

YOU CANNOT LEGALLY MANDATE THAT ALL CITIZENS MUST PURCHASE HEALTH INSURANCE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALIVE, AT PENALTY OF THE LAW IF THEY DO NOT DO SO!

That is indeed un-Constitutional, regardless of your asserted vaster knowledge of the Constitution, Mr. Jolly. You are dead wrong, sir. Your arogance and condescension make me suspect that your real name might be Robert Gibbs.

Further, the "liberal" reading of the welfare clause has gotten so broad as to encompass everything in the socialist eyes of our leftist brothers and sisters in this country.

Hell, by that reasoning, the government should be providing homes, food, transportation, and college educations to every citizen via tax payer dollars. Oh wait, to a certain extent they already do.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

What happened to the generations past that were proud and wanted to take care of themselves and their families instead of demanding that the "government" do the job for them? So much for rugged individualism and self sufficiency in America today...

I have no problem whatsoever helping those that CANNOT help themselves. I have a HUGE problem helping those that WON'T help themselves.

April 23, 2010 at 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

T Paine,

Keeping in mind you have dis-associated yourself with the Republican Party:

Can you tell me the elusive Conservative solution to this problem? Other then when the Conservatives joined in on the Bush Medicare plan, I have heard none.

Would the Free Market Help these people? Say drop their policies and pick up another one for more money PROVIDED they can get past their Pre-Existing condition? Oh have you heard Insurance Companies (like credit companies) freely share with each other (sounds like anti-trust to me).

Regulating them? You Conservatives say over and over again you don't believe in that!

Tort Reform? So not being able to get a lawyer to counter their lawyers is going to help keep cost down?

More Enforcement on Medicare Fraud? Hear-Hear but it wouldn't help these people!

Despite my cynicism I have posted again and again since this subject came up asking for the true conservative solution (surely it's been discussed) from some of our Conservatives who have posted and they never reply - even my Conservative Friends (yes I have a few) never have answers, they just attack and attack every plan the Democrats bring up.

When Phil Gramm condemned Clinton for wanting to do Health Care reform he said "This is the greatest system in the world, and there is NOTHING wrong with it!"
Sounds like the rest of them agreed with him as we never heard a conservative solution for the next 16 years (Oh I'm sorry the Bush Medicare plan).

Now they want us to "hold on", they now say they have a plan, but leaked sources say they wont present it, until (unless) they win the midterms in 2010 and/or the White House in 2012. In the meantime I have to think they are more interested in stalling to help their Insurance Buddies then (real) Health Care Reform.

But I digress, can you please enlighten us on the Conservative Solution?


Erik

April 23, 2010 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

"Hell-Point" would be the more accurate name.

Too bad most of the conned-servatives will not see that the insurance companies are their dreaded "death panels" until it is too late, and they are dumped from coverage.

It's sad that their indoctrinated fear of "socialism" will result in countless more preventable deaths.

April 23, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

The conservative solution is don't get sick. Duh.

April 23, 2010 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

T: Well at least we agree that this practice is absolutely unacceptable.

Tim: I have no idea how scumbags like that can live with themselves. I doubt if there's anything exceptional about WellPoint; they're just more blatant about it.

jadedj: That sure sucks, what happened to you. Talk about circular logic. It's a pre-existing condition as soon as your doctor mentions that you might have it? Bring on the drawing and quartering.

Jess: You're right, the entire country gets dragged down when too many people are sick, uninsured and unable to work. I'm surprised the greedy "it's all about me" types can't grasp that. Supposedly, the reason mortgage payments are tax deductible and rent payments aren't, is because the whole country is better off the more homeowners we have. Like the saying goes, "when everybody wins, everybody wins." It may sound overly simple or corny or communist, but it's true.

JR: Or would that be Neurosurgeon Roger :)

I seriously doubt if this health care bill is unconstitutional. With Obama and most of Congress being lawyers, I'm sure somebody would have thought about that.

Lew: And sleazy companies like WellPoint are unwittingly speeding up the process of bringing us government-run health care.

Tim: Third term, hell, make it four. And by then it can be revealed that the people of Kenya have been in charge of America all along. And it will be too late :)

SW: I agree that should be a capital crime. Actions like that are just as coldblooded as pulling the trigger or plunging the knife blade. And it sucks that this new jillion-page health reform bill might not even outlaw rescission in some cases.

You're right in your answer to T. Paine. For the same reason that we have a Pure Food and Drug Act, we'll eventually have a health care system that works.

Carlos: Shocking but not surprising.

Joaquin: To paraphrase your jackassinine comment:

All of the people who comment at your blog (all three of them) are either 1) a far rightwing demagogue totally blinded by ideology, 2) a trust-fund baby completely sheltered from ever dealing with the real world, or 3) a mindless drone who unquestioningly believes everything the above-mentioned demagogue says.

You might have noticed that every comment here is related to the post -- except one. Guess which one. Try to adapt.

Erik: This is a comment arguing tactic among conservatives who say they aren't Republican. Every time you mention something that a conservative Republican did, they come right back with "tut tut, remember, I told you I'm not a Republican." This gets them off the hook every time, since every major politician in recent history has been a Democrat or Republican.

Dave: But don't you see, death panels are a good thing, as long as it's a private company that's doing the killing. Come on, you need to turn on Fox News and get some of that Fair and Balanced reporting.

Randal: Anyone who gets sick is a communist.

April 23, 2010 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Doctors / hospitals etc aren’t as apt to pad things with unnecessary tests or procedures just to get a larger return from insurers if you are now the one examining and paying the bill.

And yes, tort reform is an important part of dropping costs. A person should absolutely be able to sue for gross negligence and malpractice, but the excesses that are championed by civil lawyers so that a person can “win the lottery” over an honest non-life-altering mistake made by a doctor is foolish.

The cost of malpractice insurance in certain fields, such as neurosurgery and obstetrics is outrageous. It is so much so that many doctors are not entering those fields anymore. (Fewer of such specialists means higher costs by simple supply and demand economics.) This also will help to reduce costs because doctors will be less likely to order unnecessary tests simply for the sake of covering themselves from potential lawsuits.

Change the regulations so that individuals, small businesses, trade associations etc can pool together in order to buy insurance for a larger group at discounted costs the same way that large corporations or unions do.

And lastly, enforce existing rules better against Medicare and Medicaid fraud from both doctors and patients. A few well-publicized examples of people being severely punished for this will go a long way to cutting back on fraud.

What does not work is the creation of a huge program that essentially falls under the governorship of the federal government. You cannot point out to me a single program or department that the government runs that does so efficiently in measures of both time and cost.

The mere size of the bureaucracy is such that they cannot run things efficiently. Further, the government ultimately does not have to make a profit, so they don’t care about holding costs down accordingly. Never mind the fact that making people, by force of law, to buy something they do not want is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Lawsuits have already been filed exactly because of this reason.

The bottom line is that the current health care law does not fix the problems, and will eventually create far worse ones, including rationing of care which ultimately leads to defacto "death panels".

Again, simple economics stipulate that if you provide disincentives to doctors to enter into the field of medicine, and you add 30 million more people to the pool of patients that the remaining doctors now have to care for, you will ultimately get fewer doctors taking care of more people which will result in rationing of care. Supply and demand economics.

April 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

“What we need immediately is a regulation that says if a company insures someone who subsequently develops a life-threatening condition or suffers a serious injury, any action to disqualify the person from coverage must be postponed until they're either out of harm's way or be undertaken against their estate, if they succumb. IOW, when a company contracts with a person to insure him or her, that contract is binding whenever, and for as long as, the person's survival is at stake.
Furthermore, any recission action must be cleared by an independent third party, and not one handpicked by the insurer.”

Mr. Anderson, I could not agree more. This is inexcusable for insurers to operate in such way and it is indeed criminal and should be prosecuted as such.

I am all for companies making a profit; however, when a contract is made between an insurer and insuree, it is incumbent upon the insurer to honor that obligation and not look for loopholes to get out of it.

Erik, you ask a fair question and one that has been answered from conservative circles previously, even though it has not received much media play.

Part of the answer lies very much in some of the very ideas you listed, sir.

First, eliminate the restrictions so that insurance companies are allowed to compete across state lines. Some states have only two to four companies allowed to operate within their borders. With hundreds, if not thousands of insurance companies existing out there, just think what free market competition would do to reduce costs if all were allowed to compete everywhere within the country.

Instead of three choices, we consumers would now have myriads of choices. Companies, like WellPoint that act in egregious manners would either have to change their behavior or lose huge market share. Cost and customer service will both improve accordingly.

Free market regulations can be enacted to allow those insurers that wish to participate to form a higher risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions so that they may still be covered, albeit at likely higher rates. At least there would be competition for these folks too.

Enable wide-spread use of tax deductible personal health care flexible spending accounts. It is amazing how if you have a large amount of the population governing their own pocket books so that they determine what is spent, rather than an insurer, how doctors will order tests and do procedures that only the patient authorizes to pay themselves.

April 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

"I seriously doubt if this health care bill is unconstitutional. With Obama and most of Congress being lawyers, I'm sure somebody would have thought about that."

Come on, Mr. Harper. You cannot honestly believe that!

If only lawyers, PARTICULARLY those serving in congress WOULD abide by the dictates of the law of the land as enumerated in the Constitution!

April 23, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

T Paine wrote: "Hell, by that reasoning, the government should be providing homes, food, transportation, and college educations to every citizen via tax payer dollars. Oh wait, to a certain extent they already do."

FYI, this is a democracy. If a majority of Americans, acting through their elected representatives, decide they want their government to make sure any or all these things are available to all, they have that right.

The founding fathers didn't set up a free market economic system, any more than they set up a rugged individualist society. They set up a democracy, so succeeding generations of Americans could suit public policy to their evolving, changing needs and preferences.

The genius of our system and what has made its continued survival possible is that we seek to follow the Constitution's principles while adapting public policy to changing needs and preferences.

Get a clue from the "flimsy" palm tree, Paine. The oak is referred to as mighty because of its great density, weight and the strength of how it's deeply rooted in place. Yet, come hurricane winds, see which tips over and which bends, sways and gives up its fronds, but ultimately survives.

April 23, 2010 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

T Paine,

I love this twisting of Constitutional Language. Supreme Courts have found the Governments can mandate a lot of things, People may not like them to, like be drafted, pay taxes etc., One Conservative Group is trying to get the income tax otherthrown by using the 13th Amendment -talk about a living Constitution? That one is Hyperventilating!

In my own state, if I want to drive the law says I MUST buy Insurance from a private company period, I have no other options of Insuring myself nor is there no Government option. Of Course I do have the choice of not driving (Uh huh).
Business has no problem getting the Government to push the public exclusively to their services, but offer an option and now it's a liberal twist.

You may have hit the nail on the head, when we discussed FDR and the New Deal a few threads ago, you argued that his programs had little effect on the recession, true, but what you failed to mentioned was that many of his programs were declared Unconstitutional by a very Conservative Supreme Court from Coolidge on - once he was able to get more Liberal Judges - they could get implemented close to War time.

With a 5/4 Conservative majority, maybe the real plan all along is to have those 5 declare it Unconstitutional.

Erik

April 23, 2010 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks S.W. That is a nice analogy about the palm tree.

April 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

S.W., you may be correct with your analogy in some regards, but remember that you can make beautiful things out of the wood from a mighty oak tree from which others might benefit.

Such is not the case with the wood from a palm tree which seems to exist for its self alone.

April 23, 2010 at 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

T. Paine

Thank you for answering my question. Discussing Malpractice, Many Doctors and Surgeons feel between the lawyers and the Insurance Companies just like the rest of us do. They feel the way they are being charged has nothing to do with their own reputation, safety record, nor performance. That sounds like the same complaint the rest of have when taking out Life or Auto Insurance, we are being charged for what they think we could do rather then what we actually do - In California we have tried to remedy some of that (auto wise I mean).

As for damages - how do you compensate the person whose Doctor said "Oops!"?

Given almost everything you do and every form you sign is carefully drafted by their lawyers, you almost need one every step of the way. Especially since they want you to settle with their paid arbitrators.

As for Personal Injury Attorneys (Ambulance Chasers if you will). I had an experience with Malpractice (the hospital admitted they fucked up). I tried over 20 attorneys to represent me and all turned me down

Finally some of them confessed to me my case takes too much work even if they admitted guilt. There are enough people coming in with one leg or a scalpel sticking out of their heads that they can get a quick buck out (read: settle out of court) then deal with the majority who don't have such obvious damages. So a great many wronged people are not served by these attorneys, but the minority that are, are not driving up the Health care cost as the Insurance Companies claim, because if everybody had representation, The Insurance Companies would have straightened up years ago.

Erik

April 23, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Erik, you make some interesting points, sir. I will take those things into consideration going forward.

April 23, 2010 at 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Said

"This is a comment arguing tactic among conservatives who say they aren't Republican. Every time you mention something that a conservative Republican did, they come right back with "tut tut, remember, I told you I'm not a Republican." This gets them off the hook every time, since every major politician in recent history has been a Democrat or Republican."


I have a friend who is like that. Staunch Republican who was so disgusted with GW Bush, he quit the Republican Party AFTER Bush's term was over (wow waited until after 8 years of suffering). I remind them when the Republicans so something right, he's a Republican, when they do something wrong, he's an Independent.

Conservatives and Republicans have been Inseparable since Reagan and all the Liberal Republican's switched to Democrat around that time.

Erik

April 23, 2010 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger T. Paine said...

Erik, you are right often times, on this matter.

April 25, 2010 at 10:16 AM  

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