Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Health Insurance Giants Cut Child-Only Coverage; Number of Americans in Poverty and Uninsured Still Rising

     Tomorrow, September 23rd, the following tenants of the health insurance reform go into effect:

  • Children can not be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions.
  • People can not be denied insurance for making innocent mistakes on their applications.
  • Children can stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26.
  • Insurance companies must cover receommneded preventive services (mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and infant care) without charging out of pocket costs
  • People have the gaurnateed right to appeal insurance decisions to an independent third party
  • People have the right to chose their primary care provider (within their insurance company's network).

     But the for-profit insurance companies have found a way around the new law. The Washington Post reports:
     Some of the country's most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23.
     "We're just days away from a new era when insurance companies must stop denying coverage to kids just because they are sick, and now some of the biggest changed their minds," Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, an advocacy group, said in a statement. "[It] is immoral, and to blame their appalling behavior on the new law is patently dishonest."
     Three insurers - WellPoint, Cigna and CoventryOne - all cited uncertainty in the health insurance market for their decisions.
     "We expect [insurance companies] to honor that commitment. Insurers shouldn't break their promise and turn their backs on some of our most vulnerable Americans," said Jessica Santillo, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services.
     Is the Obama administration really that naive?  Insurance companies have been turning their backs on the most vulnerable Americans for decades. Why would they stop now? Because they are profit based companies, they will always place their stockholders' money above the needs of the American people.

     In the video embedded below, Keith Olbermann exposes the greed of the health insurance companies' decision to drop child-only plans.  Last-quarter WellPoint made $722 million in profits and Cigna: $294 million.  Last year, their CEOs made $13 million and $6, respectively.  CoventryOne's CEO made $17 million.  All of that money is made off American's human need for healthcare.  The system is immoral and remains broken.

     For the entire health insurance reform will to go into effect, we have to wait until 2014 (unless the Republicans repeal it).  Then, it will be years before we know where it worked or failed.  What about the people who are uninsured in the meanwhile?  What about Americans between 55-64 year of age who get laid off?  From what I see there are no measures to help these individuals between now and 2014?  How many will suffer, go bankrupt, and/or die so that companies can continue to reap hundreds of millions in profits before 2014?  

     There are now more than 51 million American who lack health insurance.  43.6 million are living below the poverty line. (Stats from The Washington Post)  Unemployment is at 9/6%!  How are these Americans supposed to pay for health insurance?

     Americans don't need the promise of affordable healthcare in 2014.  They need healthcare today!

     The Democrats squandered their mandate and their promises of reforming the broken healthcare system on the Tea Party's rantings and ravings of "death panels" and Republican's protection of healthcare companies' campaign donations.  Obama's health reform might be better than nothing, but it is still failing Americans.   

     America is the land of the rich making a buck off the poor and the ill.  Dog bless America.