( – promoted by ClubTwitty)
To the thousands protesting attempts to inject competition into the for-profit health care insurance market, by parroting the words formulated by Fred Luntz, Republican Strategist:
“First,” he says, “you have to pretend to support it. Then use phrases like, “government takeover,” “delayed care is denied care,” “consequences of rationing,” “bureaucrats, not doctors prescribing medicine.”
The industry executives thank you. Your willingness to sacrifice your and your family’s health and well-being, in order to insure the continuing lifestyle and rewards reaped annually by the insurance executives is deeply appreciated.
As former CIGNA VP Wendell Potter stated in both his congressional testimony, as well as on Bill Moyer’s Journal:
The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you’re heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening. If there were a broader program like our Medicare program, it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern.
The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable, publicly accountable health care option as, quote, “government-run health care.” What we have today, Mr. Chairman, is Wall Street-run health care that has proven itself an untrustworthy partner to its customers, to the doctors and hospitals who deliver care and to the state and federal governments that attempt to regulate it.
…opponents of reform are those who are saying that we need to be careful about what we do here, because we don’t want the government to take away your choice of a health plan. It’s more likely that your employer and your insurer is going to switch you from a plan that you’re in now to one that you don’t want. You might be in the plan you like now.
But chances are, pretty soon, you’re going to be enrolled in one of these high deductible plans in which you’re going to find that much more of the cost is being shifted to you than you ever imagined.
BILL MOYERS: Why is public insurance, a public option, so fiercely opposed by the industry?
WENDELL POTTER: The industry doesn’t want to have any competitor. In fact, over the course of the last few years, has been shrinking the number of competitors through a lot of acquisitions and mergers. So first of all, they don’t want any more competition period. They certainly don’t want it from a government plan that might be operating more efficiently than they are, that they operate. The Medicare program that we have here is a government-run program that has administrative expenses that are like three percent or so.
Of course, one way that the insurance companies can increase efficiencies and profits are to eliminate the “Problem” accounts — you know, the ones that actually need medical help. They are using information systems so:
…the company could determine more about which accounts were not profitable or marginally profitable. So with that new system, he was able, and the other executives to identify the accounts that they wanted to get rid of. And over the course of a very few years, they shed 8 million members.
BILL MOYERS: 8 million policy holders?
WENDELL POTTER: 8 million people, men, women, and children, yes.
Some of them were shed by intention. Some, I’m sure, probably walked because the– or left for whatever other reason, but they intentionally had this program to purge these accounts. Eight million fewer people were enrolled in Aetna’s plans. Many of them undoubtedly joined the ranks of the uninsured, because their employers had been purged.
If you haven’t lost your job, gotten seriously ill, or had your coverage at work severely cut back or even dropped completely, count yourself lucky (so far).
So why does the insurance industry need your support in defeating reform, particularly if it means having a public option?
…the public plan would do a lot to keep them honest, because it would have to offer a standard benefit plan. It would have to operate more efficiently, as does the Medicare program. It would be structured, I’m certain on a level playing field, so that it wouldn’t be unfair advantage to the private insurance companies. But because it could be administered more efficiently, then the private insurers, they would have to operate more efficiently. And that 20 cents in that medical loss ratio we talked about earlier might get narrower. And they don’t want that.
…Now would we?
Here are the links to Bill Moyers Journal and the transcript that I have quoted from above:
Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients
Everyone opposing reform should ask themselves: Is it worth defeating reform over your dead body?