Insurers Hijack California Healthcare

  1. insurers hijack california healthcare

    unbelievable. yesterday most of california’s major insurance corporations (blue shield, kaiser, cigna, etc. etc.) testified in support of arnold schwarzenegger’s healthcare reform bill…and the donations they have given to assemblymembers was money well-spent, as the bill passed and was sent to the senate.

    we’ll take a look at what’s up below …[ no wonder the private insurance corporations love this bill:] by including an “individual mandate,” it creates a forced market where individuals are forced to purchase expensive, wasteful products from the very people who wrecked our healthcare in the first place.

    oh, but that’s not all. other provisions from the bill:
    • insurance companies can continue to deny medical care they brand as “not medically necessary” or experimental, deny access to specialists, and deny tests – even when those care options or treatment are recommended by a physician.
    • insurance companies can continue to charge whatever they want. the bill has no limits on escalating premiums, deductibles, co-pays, or other rising costs.
    • individuals are still forced to buy insurance without guarantees of what they are buying or whether they can afford it.
    • fails to include the much discussed requirement of employer contributions which are left to a separate initiative to go before voters next november. “without an employer mandate, the concept of ‘shared responsibility’ is out the window, and it just becomes an individual mandate bill, with all the onus and burden on individuals and families,” said cna/nnoc legislative director donna gerber.

    it’s appropriate that individuals are forced to purchase insurance products without knowing what they’re getting—because legislators voted for the bill without knowing how it was going to be funded. oh, that! the ironic part is that the bill relies of george bush sending california $4.7 billion in health aid, because we all know how much he loves to fund healthcare. if this process sounds vaguely familiar, [ it’s exactly what happened with the enron deregulation some years ago.]

    <blockquote> so why, one wonders, would the governor and the speaker push an incomplete, unclear and legally questionable health plan, especially when they face an immense deficit in the state budget that senate president pro tem don perata rightly says should be addressed first?
    political ego.

    the two politicians said they'd do it this year, so with two weeks remaining in the year they wanted to claim to have done something – no matter that it is, at best, a work-in-progress that has generated as much opposition as it has support, with labor unions, consumer groups, employers and health care groups divided by ideology and self-interest.

    it's a lousy way to make public policy that could affect the lives of millions of californians – just like the ill-conceived, sloppily written energy scheme 11 years ago. if this is worth doing, it's worth doing right, not as a cheesy stunt a few days before christmas that, incidentally, cost taxpayers about $20,000 in expenses. </blockquote>

    another bitter irony of the bill is that it [ ignores the problems in massachusetts,] where the boston globe has recently reported that in the face of costs next year that could climb 14 percent, state officials are considering sharp increases in co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs for massachusetts families, fewer choices for consumers, and cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals.

    that’s right, you’re required by law to purchase insurance—and the insurers have the freedom to jack up your rates as much as they dang please. that’s compounding the problem of financial risk and insecurity for patients.

    the good news is that this bill has been losing support faster than george bush. labor unions and patient advocates, who rightly support healthcare reform, are now bitterly divided as they see the ugly insurance corporation giveaway wearing reform drag.

    [ so the bill passed the assembly.] it goes to the senate, where california’s hellacious budget deficit makes its passage uncertain. if it does pass, it will lose on the ballot in november.

    the california nurses association will of course be leading a coalition of healthcare activists to block the bill—details coming. this is california folks, we gotta stop it here so they don’t do this nationally.

    in the meantime, i’m going to leave you with a partial list of the groups who support this bill, and support corporate welfare in the drag of healthcare reform:

    blue shield
    california association of health plans
    catholic healthcare west
    daughters of charity health system
    integrated healthcare association
    kaiser permanente
    lindora medical clinics
    longs drugs
    memorial care
    molina health care
    plymouth health
    seiu international
    silicon valley leadership group
    small business california
    small business majority
    sutter hospital chain

    cross-posted at the [ national nurses organizing committee/california nurses association’s] breakroom blog, as we organize for guaranteed healthcare on the single-payer model
    Last edit by lizzyj on Dec 18, '07
  2. Visit lizzyj profile page

    About lizzyj

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 23; Likes: 53
    California Nurses Assocation/National Nurses Organizing Committee
    Specialty: 25 year(s) of experience in community health


  3. by   Weeping Willow
    Shocking but not really surprising. I think a huge outcry by those "forced" will put an end to this outrage.

    Political ego? How about something equally as basic - money.
  4. by   The Hated Consultant
    Alarming, as what most of California does has a way of trickling east, but not surprising.

    Government has no place in any aspect of healthcare.
  5. by   bigreddog1934
    government has no aspect place in health care? does that mean we should hand over all legislation about safety, insurance, training and licensing to the marketplace and its corporations?

    thats a frightening idea and an extension of what is currently being considered.
  6. by   The Hated Consultant
    The reason healthcare and its fringe industries is so screwed up is BECAUSE of government interference.

    All the items you mentioned could be taken care of easily from the private sector without the interference of Uncle Sam. There is no place in the Constitution that gives the government that power. It was ALLOWED.

    Safety concerns, licensing, etc.--all that could be done at the private or even state levels.

    Right now there are government mandates about staffing; how are they helping, when pretty much every facility I visit is in a staffing crisis, and the nurses they DO have on staff are burned out and fed up from trying to cover? (That creates those safety concerns you mentioned.) Name a facility that can actually afford to hire enough staff to truly meet the needs of its residents or patients, without giving nurses the absolute maximum load they can under government mandate? How has that helped? Government interference in the form of their mandates costs facilities more than they can afford; ask the ERs in California who've been forced to close because they HAD to take the avalanche of indigent illegal aliens under government mandate how helpful those mandates are.

    Right now there are government mandates on Medicare D prescription plans. The result is seniors working like maggots all their lives only to be told "Sorry, that's not on the formulary" or "You've reached your plan limit, you'll have to pay for that on your fixed know, your Social Security, which you've paid into all your life but won't exist by the time your kids retire because we'll give a check to everybody who sticks their hand out". How is that government mandate helping? There is nothing more pitiful than an old man or woman shuffling into an office, Medicare crap in hand, because they can't understand all the paperwork and what it all means. And how does it help me if the government takes money out of my pocket every payday and gives it to someone else? Social inSecurity will be gone by the time I'm old enough to draw it; how does that help?

    Right now there are government mandates on licensing and training...I see every quarter in my nursing newsletter from the Board alerts about at least one person who was working while posing as a nurse. How is that helping? I deal with nurses every day who don't have sense enough to find their butt with both hands and a road map; how do government mandates help there?

    All these issues and more could be easily solved without government interference. Personal responsibility and common sense is a good start.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    State government IS government.
    I am glad that my state ensures a minimum level of competence and disciplines or recinds the license of proven incompetent nurses.

    This thread is about my states frightening proposal to force everyone to buy health insurance.
    It IS just like what happened when our energy was deregulated and privatized to let companies like Enron steal our utilities.

    Safe staffing saves lives. It is also cost effective:
  8. by   BBFRN
    It's odd that the SEIU suports this bill. They are usually in agreement with the CNA on just about everything, aren't they?
  9. by   CityKat
    Yipes!! I will NOT be voting for this and I know many others in their right minds will not.
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    ...In a present gift wrapped by the California Assembly with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Santa, Assembly members passed a bill mislabeled as healthcare reform that will guarantee not health care but millions of new customers for the insurance industry, with California taxpayers paying the bill...
  11. by   lamazeteacher
    It's an election year! Everyones in office, is attempting to stay in it by buying the support of their colleagues........
    Does anyone else believe this resembles the fix we're in under mandated car insurance?
    We're paying more for less everywhere. It is time to make our voices heard, and vote with our emails to involved companies and campaigners. NO MORE SILENT MAJORITY!
  12. by   CityKat
    "From Silence to Voice" in regards to everything you care about that affects you and your family!
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    Mandatory Health Insurance Is Not Progress But Political Payoff

    Yesterday I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger, the CEO of Safeway, high-rolling California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (under fire for living large on his campaign contributors' credit card) and the man who split the union movement in two, SEIU's Andy Stern, celebrate in Sacramento what it means to be progressive in America.

    Apparently it's about forcing everyone to buy health insurance at any price the insurers want to charge with whatever little benefits the companies want to provide. Then you can claim you are requiring insurers to sell to everyone. Hmmm. We have to buy. But insurers must sell. Progressive values?...
  14. by   Simplepleasures
    Someone else mentioned SEIU endorsing this bill, I find that reprehensible, who does this union represent anyway?They seem to be in the pockets of some health insurers and employers, disgusting.:angryfire