Bring It On!

So You Think You Have Health Insurance?

June 19th, 2008 | by Liberal Jarhead |

Take a look at this video titled “Insurance Jive” - it dramatizes the way that insurance companies in California have begun making a systematic practice of illegally cancelling people’s policies if they actually have the nerve to get sick; in the actual case portrayed in the video, Health Net cancelled the policy of a woman named Patsy Bates, a 52-year-old grandmother, when she developed breast cancer. This forced her to stop her chemo for several months and run up $129,000 in medical bills. Considering that my mother died of a combination of breast cancer and lung disease, and breast cancer runs in my wife’s family, it’s easy for me to see how that could affect a patient and a family. Fortunately, in that case the court system forced Health Net to make it right and pay extensive punitive damages as well.

It’s not limited to that company, it’s industry-wide in California; investigators have found internal documents proving that the companies illegally gave employees policy cancellation quotas as performance goals.

And if it can happen in California, it can happen here, wherever here happens to be for you.

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  1. 12 Responses to “So You Think You Have Health Insurance?”

  2. By Dusty on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    This reminds me of the story here in Cali where the young girl died before her insurance company finally allowed her to get a transplant that would of saved her life.

    Systemic is right..its a business and until we take the money-making part out of health insurance or..pass laws that outlaw these practices, this will continue unabated.

  3. By Liberal Jarhead on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    Yeah, and it’s like the way that insurance companies stonewalled for so many years about paying for mammograms and other basic preventive medicine. Besides being cruel and callous, it was bad business, because it ended up costing them a lot more in the long run when women got cancer.

    Ultimately the most reasonable solution is a single-payer system where everyone is eligible and there isn’t any rigmarole about who qualifies for what benefits. People bitch and moan and worst-case the projected costs, cherry-picking the worst data from other countries, but I’ve seen that kind of system, in the military, and it works. Not perfect but much better than nothing.

    The real problem is the parasitic companies that play middleman and contribute nothing except a needless layer of administration; that’s why American health care costs about three times as much per capita as Canadian.

  4. By Dusty on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    The VA and to some extent Medicare DO work..sure, they can be fine-tuned but the whole socialist part of it is what the right gloms onto when bitching about such systems.

  5. By manapp99 on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    A single payer system will not change the fact that someone other than the doctor and the patient will have to approve a medical procedure. The only thing that will change is the “who” making that decision. The “who” now is an insurance company concerned with cost. The “who” of the future will be a goverment agency concerned with the cost. There will never be a time when all procedures are covered no matter the cost. If you think the insurance company who has to compete for your business will be less fair than the government agency that will have no competition I think you are crazy.

  6. By Dusty on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    Please, you refuse to admit that the VA system works now manapp? The Medicare system works with most of the problems coming from Doctors who scam the system in order to enrich themselves?

    Both these socialist systems work for the benefit of the patient in most cases. Who makes the determination..I would rather have a third party, such as the govt made determinations than allowing the actual party that will benefit from refusing to provide said services make the determination.

    Compete my ass. There is little competition among insurance companies..if a business has too many sick employees the insurance company raises their rates the next year.

    There are so many layers to this system now, that jack of the cost per patient, that it’s ridiculous.

    There will never be a time when all procedures are covered no matter the cost.-talk about a negative pov..come mean to tell me that the govt would let people suffer and/or die because of the cost of a service? Not even close to what the insurance companies do now dude.

  7. By Ken Grandlund on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    A complete overhaul, from the way we pay for medical education to the way we pay for medical care is desperately needed, not only to ensure that all have health care coverage but also to help our economy. Businesses (excluding the health care cabal) are suffering under the weight of ever increasing health care costs. Students are overburdoned with decades of debt after receiving their medical degrees. Patients are denied care or put into bankruptcy.

    And yet the “right” seems to think things couldn’t be better.

    From start to finish, about the only great thing about health care in the US is the quality of resources at our disposal. But even those can be hamstrung by insurance company bean coutners.

    I have written extensively before, posted here and at my blog, on health care reform. You can’t fix this system piece meal. It needs a complete overhaul.

  8. By Liberal Jarhead on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    “If you think the insurance company who has to compete for your business will be less fair than the government agency that will have no competition I think you are crazy.”
    No – to think the insurance company who often does not have to compete, since Medicare and Medicaid award contracts based on where you live and on splitting the business up evenly, and thanks to the lobbyist-written laws severely limiting lawsuits against HMOs aren’t accountable to anyone but their shareholders, will be more fair than the government that has no profit motive and is accountable to the voters, THAT would be crazy.
    I have dealt with this system as both a treatment provider trying to get approval for care for people and as a program manager for the state health department, so I have more first-hand experience here than most. I have also dealt with government-funded health care and continue to do so, in the military, via the VA, and via the TriCare system that covers my wife’s care, and it works. Of course they don’t cover “every procedure,” but they will cover any procedure that is a medical necessity and many that aren’t, and the amount we have to pay TriCare for Jan’s care is a lot less than the standard rates for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Presbyterian, or other for-profit insurance companies I’ve dealt with.

  9. By mr bigstuff on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    competition hell. there’s only a precious few choices that most employees and their employers have. the profit motive, wait, unrestrained greed motive is the reason why the current system is fucked. beyond repair. the health care burden in this country lies firmly on the employers shoulders. the for profit insurers use this system to siphon off an inordinate share of profits from damn near every business in america. if you think this system does anything but stymie the growth of business nationwide, then once again you and hellen keller share the same awareness of your surroundings. your belief in the efficient function of free markets is admirable but in reality, all markets in this country have been manipulated and corrupted by influences with a decidedly republican bent to the point where the consumers in the markets exist only for the exploitation of the providers. it has to change. a single payer system that focuses on cost reduction instead of consumer participant limitation and greed is much more efficient and most importantly more beneficial to the country as a whole and health care providers as an industry compared to what exists now. similar to the way in which w and his ilk have corrupted this country to the point that the republicans worst fears of a black man or white woman president are now a carved in stone reality, your role models have corrupted the mortgage, health care, oil and other industries and services to the point that government regulation and oversight if not control is necessary to save the country from economic ruin. that is not the optimum model, but it is now necessary due the destructive lawless greed encouraged by w and his ilk over the last 8 years. your role models are your own worst enemy. unfortunately, fox news, rush limbaugh, and the rest of the babbling right wing fools who know just enough about free market economics to be very dangerous have blinded, deafened and dumbed you down to this fact. you better get off the tracks. you’re about to get run over by a frieght train moving on a simple twist of fate. my apologies to robert j. zimmerman for the plagiarism.

  10. By mr bigstuff on Jun 19, 2008 | Reply

    liberal jarhead,
    one of my best friends is a conservative jarhead. 20+ years with uncle sams misguided children. now he draws a sizable disability check cause of the high blood pressure brought on from 2 decades of admin pencil pushing. next time he gets to running his mouth about politics of which he knows nothing about, will you whup his ass for me? i am afraid i couldn’t live with myself if i had to whup a marines ass. i will provide a $25 bottle of stoli for your efforts. be careful though, he brags about knowing close quarters combat, but i don’t believe him. he tells a whole lotta lies and supports w.

  11. By Liberal Jarhead on Jun 23, 2008 | Reply

    Well, I know close half-dollars combat. So there. (pause for rim shot)

    I’d probably pass the job on to my wife, or my daughter, though; I do believe either of them might bust me up pretty thoroughly if they put their mind to it - I get one of those disability checks too, but in my case it involves a spine and one knee that are pretty well thrashed.

    If I actually found myself dealing with someone who wanted to get rowdy, I’d probably have the same reaction as my younger brother, also a beat-up former jarhead, when a carload of gangbangers crowded his truck off the road. They all jumped out with bats and knives and found him leaning across his hood with his 9mm out and aimed in, sighing and saying, “Okay, who’s first?” They left.

    I wouldn’t really do that, though. I carry a .45, I’d never trust a 9mm.

    Appreciate the invite, though. What zip code?

  12. By Dusty on Jun 23, 2008 | Reply

    Firearms, the great equalizer!

    We have a handgun and there has always been a handgun in the house since I can remember as a wee lass.

  13. By mr bigstuff on Jun 24, 2008 | Reply


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