Former Health Insurance Company Executive Admits Insurance Firms Very Much Behind Town Hall Disruptions – Health insurance companies deserve “a great deal of the blame” for the sometimes violent disruptions to town hall meetings on health care, says a former health insurance company executive turned whistleblower. Wendell Potter, a former executive with health insurer Cigna who now works as the senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy, said that health insurance companies “are very much behind the town hall disruptions that you see and a lot of the deception that’s going on in terms of disinformation that many Americans, apparently, are believing.”
Securities and Exchange Commission statistics show that profits at the US’s ten largest health insurance companies skyrocketed more than 400 percent between 2000 and 2007, from $2.4 billion in 2000 to $12.7 billion in 2007. While they quadrupled their profits, the number of Americans without health insurance grew by 19 percent.
The average total take-home pay for the CEOs of those health insurance companies was $11.9 million each, per year, while the number of Americans without health insurance, for whom a burst appendix can mean bankruptcy, has gone through the roof.
Pete Olson Lies About What Democratic Leaders Said About Angry Mob Behavior – Today, I received an e-mail reply to my concerns about mob behavior at town hall meetings from Congressman Pete Olson (R-Clear Lake, TX), in which he states, “I do not believe that it helps the dialogue when leaders of the Democratic Party label participants as “un-American” for simply expressing their concerns to their elected leaders. Those kinds of comments are what I find to be absolutely reprehensible.”
However, the only statement that I can find fro the Democratic leadership on this issue is in a piece written by Steney Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi, which states, “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.” They are correct. All people should have a chance to be heard.
What I find “absolutely reprehensible,” as Pete Olson calls it, is misrepresenting the comments of our leaders, and thinking that we are dumb enough not to fact check what he says.
Dangerous (Non) Thinking – Have you seen some of the health care reform protesters wearing their t-shirts with the famous Thomas Jefferson quote:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
There’s one of these T-shirts that’s especially notable: It was the one Timothy McVeigh was wearing when he was arrested for blowing up 168 people at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City back in 1995.
Does this mean that anyone wearing one of these shirts, or expressing these sentiments, is a crazed militiaman eager and willing to blow up government workers and their children? No. But it does seem that some Republicans are palin’ around with domestic terrorists.
It’s so ironic. Their version of “patriotism” is so extreme that they actually hate not just their government but their fellow citizens — in essence, their country: because it has been “perverted” from its original purposes (as they see them).
Investor’s Business Daily Makes Stuff Up About Government Health Care – In an effort to discredit government health care, Investor’s Business Daily stated, “”The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof, are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script … People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”
However, Professor Hawking has replied, “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”
Health Insurance Company Provides Misleading TV Ads, But That’s About All – A health insurer whose TV commercials promised “peace of mind” for just $5 a day must stop running the national ads and pay a fine of $700,000 after New York officials accused it of leaving patients only with huge hospital bills.
The American Medical and Life Insurance Co., advertising through an intermediary called Cinergy, marketed health insurance as a lower cost option for the uninsured and underinsured. It was pitched as costing just $5 a day, or the cost of a hamburger or pack of cigarettes.
In one ad, the narrator said the insurance is available “regardless of any pre-existing conditions,” while the print on the screen stated “most pre-existing conditions accepted” and the fine print stated there is a six-month waiting period.
Acting Insurance Superintendent Kermitt J. Brooks said Wednesday that the cases uncovered in New York’s two-year investigation included a Rochester woman who had $419 a month charged to her credit card for the insurance, only to have the company cover just $1,164 of her $28,000 hospitalization. A 36-year-old New Yorker who had a stroke found his policy covered just $250, leaving him with a bill for $29,917.
Conservative Group Scaring Senior Citizens – A group called 60 Plus has been attempting to scare senior citizens with various lies about health care reform. A few years ago, AARP hired an investigator who looked into 60 Plus and found that it was being was used as a front by the pharmaceutical industry during the 2002-03 push for a Medicare drug benefit.
60 Plus also had long-standing ties to the Bush administration. According to a 2002 article in the American Prospect, “The smaller 60 Plus Association, which is handling the radio spots, is run by James Martin, a retired Marine whose postmilitary career includes stints at the National Conservative Political Action Committee and Americans Against Union Control of Government. He claims to have given President George W. Bush his first job out of college: working on a Florida Senate campaign.”
The 60 Plus website features a photo of Martin chatting with Karl Rove in 2003. During the Bush administration’s push for Social Security privatization in 2005, representatives of the group were invited to meet with Rove, along with those of the Business Roundtable and the Mortgage Bankers Association. A true rouge’s gallery.
Disobedient Child – Here’s what Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said about President Obama’s plan to expand AmeriCorps, a program that puts young adults to work making the world a better place by teaching disadvantaged kids and helping the poor:
[It’s] under the guise of quote, volunteerism, but it’s not volunteers at all,” she said on the Sue Jeffers radio show in April. “It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. There are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people get trained in the philosophy the government puts forward and then they have to go work in these politically correct forums.
As a parent, I would have a very, very difficult time seeing my children do this.
Bachmann’s son, Harrison Bachmann, recently joined Teach for America (TFA), one of the programs under the AmeriCorps umbrella.
The last application deadline was in February, and successful candidates were notified within two months, according to Kerci Marcello Stroud, national communications director of TFA. So when Bachmann issued her screed, her son might have already been accepted, and certainly would have applied. Ouch.
As an AmeriCorps member, he won’t be allowed to participate in politics or disseminate partisan material.
Thank you, Harrison, for your service. Here’s hoping you inspire kids to dream, and get inspired in the process.
Bush Administration Had U.S. Attorney Fired For Not Influencing Election for Republican – The dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias in December 2006 followed extensive communication among lawyers and political aides in the White House. The campaign to oust Iglesias intensified after state party officials and GOP members of the congressional delegation apparently concluded he was not pursuing the cases against Democrats in a way that would help then- Rep. Heather Wilson in a tight re-election race, according to interviews and Bush White House e-mails released Tuesday by congressional investigators.
It’s Easy to Steal Votes on a Computerized Voting Machine – Computer science students demonstrated that criminals could hack an electronic voting machine and steal votes using a malicious programming approach that had not been invented when the voting machine was designed. The team of scientists from University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University employed “return-oriented programming” to force a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine to turn against itself and steal votes.