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Posts Tagged ‘Insurance lobby

How Private Health Insurers Purchased Healthcare Reform

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“they all must go!”

Billy Wharton / March 31st, 2010   DissidentVoice.org

In a moment of frank political revelation, Firedoglake reports that Senator Max Bacchus has confirmed that former WellPoint Vice President Liz Fowler wrote substantial portions of the recently approved Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Left-wing opponents of the bill had already claimed that private insurers exercised significant influence on the proceedings in the House and Senate. Bacchus’ revelation takes these claims to a new level as they prove that the private health insurance lobby literally wrote the bill that is being passed off as a “reform” of the healthcare system.

Bacchus cited the contributions made by Liz Fowler during floor proceedings in the Senate. “Liz Fowler worked for me many years ago,” he proudly stated from the microphone, “left for the private sector, and then came back when she realized she could be there at the creation of health care reform because she wanted that to be, in a certain sense, her profession lifetime goal.” Fowler went on to author the influential White Paper that formed the basis for the eventual legislation.

WellPoint is a notorious private insurer. In 2007, it was revealed that the company operated an extensive department entirely dedicated to carrying out procedure denials and insurance cancellations. In 2009, WellPoint’s affiliate, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, sued the state of Maine in an attempt to force the state to guarantee that the company would receive at least a 3% annual return from selling insurance policies in the state. Not surprisingly, the company has also been a campaign contributor to Bacchus’ senatorial runs.

Liz Fowler’s pro-corporate credentials run far deeper than WellPoint. She began her career as an attorney at Hogan & Hartson, a massive corporate law and lobbying firm. The firm is an active campaign contributor, including, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, contributions of $2,000 to Bacchus’ campaigns in 2002 and 2006. There are currently 60 Hogan & Hartson lobbyists working in Washington representing hundreds of corporations, including dozens of health insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

All of this explains why the Senate Finance Committee was converted into the healthcare sinkhole. Senators on the committee received an inordinately high amount of campaign contributions from the health insurance industry, $8 million from PAC’s and $6 million from individuals, in 2010 to insure its loyalty. Liberal proposals for a “public-option” went down in flames here and when single-payer activists attempted to participate in the debate on the bill, Bacchus joked that “we may need more police.” The police arrived promptly and removed anyone who dared to speak against a process clearly designed to screw them.

This is how politics works for the Democrats and Republicans. The door between private industry and public policy has swung wide open. Corporate money rules politics. Bacchus apparently feels confident that the American public has sunk to a level of stupidity so low that he can pass off Fowler’s pro-corporate role as some sort of public service. Shameful.

Fowler and Bacchus are just one manifestation of a larger corrupt political process that has slipped so far out of the hands of everyday Americans that there is no going back. A slogan developed during the most recent financial crisis in Argentina might best capture what needs to happen going forward “they all must go.”

What Do Real Socialists Say About Obama’s Health Care “Reform”?

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We know a former Wellpoint (Insurance ) exec actually wrote most of the Bill that was just passed. We know that Obama made a deal behind closed doors to kill the Public Option. We’re also beginning to hear more about all the traps and loopholes that were written into the Bill benefiting the Insurance and Pharma industries, and the lack of any real price constraints so costs can continue to rise.

What I’d really like to know is why none of these details were provided by the media prior to passage? The public was asked to take sides pro and con with only their fears to guide them for the most part.

Progressives and Conservatives are in agreement that  these Health “Reform” efforts are a sham and will not deliver as advertised. But  Tea-Baggers claim the Bill is socialist. So what do real socialists have to say?


The Meaning of Obama’s Healthcare Reform and Next Steps

March 29, 2010

Statement by the Editorial Board of   The Organizer Newspaper

The healthcare reform bill adopted by the House of Representatives on March 21 and signed into law by President Obama on March 23 has been hailed widely as an historic victory for working people. Some have gone so far as to compare it to the adoption of the Social Security and Medicare bills years ago. Even those who criticize aspects of the bill argue that it marks a step forward that warrants our support.

No one could be opposed to a healthcare reform bill, however incremental, if it represented even a small step in the right direction. But is this really the case?

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Stop Big Insurance: Demand the Public Option

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On March 9th in Washington, DC, a citizens’ posse – thousands strong – descended on the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where the insurance companies were meeting to plot to KILL health reform. They came to arrest the insurance companies, and that’s what they did.

The House may vote on health reform as early as next week. It’s now or never. Demand that the Public Option be part of Reconciliation!


Pledge to call your Representative in the House as many times as it takes until they listen to us and vote YES on health reform!

You might also want to read: The Democrats’ scam becomes more transparent which details the big Sell-Out the Democrats have in mind.

Written by laudyms

March 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

S. 1681, “The Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act Of 2009”

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Senator Leahy has introduced S. 1681, “The Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act Of 2009, but it has not progressed to a vote. Sen. Leahy’s bill removes anti-trust exemptions for health insurers granted by the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, a loophole that has been seriously abused. Insurance industry lobbyists have seen to it that this loophole has not been closed in the current health legislation under consideration.

As columnist Bob Buckley has written: “Since health insurers and medical malpractice insurers are not subject to the anti-trust laws, they can get together and determine the prices that they charge for health insurance. The two key provisions of the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act [S. 1681] will repeal the federal anti-trust exemption for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance companies for flagrant anti-trust violations, including price-fixing, bid rigging, and market allocations, and subject health insurers and medical malpractice insurers to the same good-competition laws that apply to virtually every other company doing business in the United States.

The insurance companies are prospering behind this exemption. The health insurance industry does not have to play by the same good-competition rules as other industries. According to Senator Leahy, anti-trust oversight of the insurance industry will provide consumers with confidence that insurance companies are operating in a competitive marketplace.”

Please support Bill S 1681 and insist that it receives the vote it deserves!     Take Action

Howard Dean: “Kill The Senate Bill”

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Greg Sargent’s blog

In a blow to the bill grinding through the Senate, Howard Dean bluntly called for the bill to be killed in a pre-recorded interview set to air later this afternoon, denouncing it as “the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate,” the reporter who conducted the interview tells me.

Dean said the removal of the Medicare buy-in made the bill not worth supporting, and urged Dem leaders to start over with the process of reconciliation in the interview, which is set to air at 5:50 PM today on Vermont Public Radio, political reporter Bob Kinzel confirms to me.

The gauntlet from Dean — whose voice on health care is well respsected among liberals — will energize those on the left who are mobilizing against the bill, and make it tougher for liberals to embrace the emerging proposal. In an excerpt Kinzel gave me, Dean says:

“This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.”

Kinzel added that Dean essentially said that if Democratic leaders cave into Joe Lieberman right now they’ll be left with a bill that’s not worth supporting.

Dean had previously endorsed the Medicare buy-in compromise without a public option, saying that the key question should be whether the bill contains enough “real reform” to be worthy of progressives’ support. Dean has apparently concluded that the “real reform” has been removed at Lieberman’s behest — which won’t make it easier for liberals to swallow the emerging compromise.

Update: The full interview is now up at Vermont Public Radio.

Matt Taibbi takes on health care issues

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After his recent expose of Goldman-Sachs, Taibbi now addresses the corrupt/inept debacle known as our health care system.

Sick and Wrong

How Washington is screwing up health care reform – and why it may take a revolt to fix it

MATT TAIBBI   Rolling Stone

Let’s start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world………

The system doesn’t work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it’s a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they’re sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable — and that’s the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won’t get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America…..

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