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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Is a bad bill better than doing nothing?
Posted by Jill | 4:47 AM
So after all the hue and cry and rending of garments, it is looking increasingly that whatever passes for "health care reform" this year is going to be nothing more than a big wet kiss for the insurance industry. If you have health insurance through your employer, perhaps you'll get to keep it...but watch out if you actually get sick. If you have one of the "cover-nothing" policies that many of the self-employed have, you already know how bad this industry is. And if you are uninsured and you think that "making insurance available" to you is going to be an improvement, well, if you're pulling in about, say, $60,000, which is about $45,000 after all your taxes, see how well you live after you're required to pay $12,000 of that for health insurance. That'll leave you with $33,000/year or less than $3,000/month for housing, utilities, operating your car, and feeding and clothing yourself and your kids. Forget about things like a vacation beyond a day trip. Forget about saving for when the furnace has to be replaced. And forget about saving for retirement, because you won't have enough after you pay the insurance company.

And this is what the DEMOCRATS are going to give you. Can you imagine what the REPUBLICANS would do?

Oh, and by the way? When you apply for insurance, you'd better not have forgotten that you had measles as a kid, or that you once had a mole removed, or that one of your kids is especially prone to ear infections. Because if you forget any of this and don't put it on your application, and you get cancer, or your kid is hospitalized with swine flu, you may find that your insurance company has decided you deliberately defrauded it and cancel your policy.

In theory, whatever comes out of Washington at the end of this will "force" insurers to "cover" pre-existing conditions. But what does "coverage" mean? I have lots of paperwork from insurers in my files -- health insurance, homeowners insurance, an umbrella policy -- all of which outlines what's "covered." But there's nothing that says that any insurer actually has to pay out. Some homeowners insurance companies will raise your rates just for making an inquiry even if you never make a claim. And in all the talk of "reform", I have heard NOTHING out of Washington about health insurance reform actually paying claims. If you have ever had to fight with a cube rat wearing a headset at a health insurance company over coverage of a medication, or whether the treatment advocated by your ADHD child's physician is covered, or because an actuary decided that your cancer treatment is "experimental", you know that simply having insurance means absolutely nothing.

And yet this is what we are likely to get -- forced payments to for-profit entities to maximize their profits with ZERO obligation to actually pay claims:
Despite tensions between moderate and liberal Democrats, there is broad agreement within the party over most of what a package would look like. Four of the five Congressional committees considering health care legislation have already passed bills. Each would require all Americans to have insurance and provide government subsidies for those who cannot afford it. Each would bar insurance companies from refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions; imposing lifetime caps on coverage; or dropping people when they get sick.

I don't see anything there about actually paying claims, do you? Oh, the insurers will be required to "cover" pre-existing conditions, which means they'll have to sell you a policy on which you'll have to pay premiums. But refuse claims? I don't see anything there about that.

The entire argument about keeping for-profit insurers as the primary provider of health care funding assumes that these companies are good-faith players. But we've seen that insurers are NOT good-faith players. What they are, however, is showerers of cash upon members of Congress. And if this health care "debate" has shown us anything, it's that our government no longer represents us. It represents those willing to provide the cash that lets them keep their seats so that they can continue to have health insurance that really does pay claims.

And the rest of us can go fuck ourselves as far as they're concerned.

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Anonymous gyma said...
Not even 8 AM and I already need a drink. And I don't mean coffee, either.

Blogger Bartender Cabbie said...
I usually disagree with your opinions. On this you are right on the money. I have had the fight with health insurers before and it is something I will never forget. Even worse by far than dealing with Allstate after being hit by one of their insured.That is bad enough. I actually think that those "cube rats" you speak of cause death by delay or denail, they should be charged with a crime. Manslaughter at the very least.