Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Health Care Liars

Health Care Liars:
Posted by: "brembelia2004"
Mon May 25, 2009 4:04 pm (PDT)

What has happened to America?

Once upon a time everyone told the truth and anyone trying to lie to the public would be castigated roundly by everyone else. Over the last thirty years, have we become numb because we are lied to so consistently by those who claim they "have a right to do business" and "have a right to earn money" and "have a right to be successful anyway they can". Last time I looked into the Constitution or the now redacted Bill of Rights, they mentioned nothing about lying your face off so you can completely deceive your fellow citizens to have the "right" to become obscenely rich. When did God die and pass on this birth "right"?

The health care issue is warming up: Sen. Max Baucus is holding secret meetings this month in his senate committee to decide whether or not the new health care "reform" act will MANDATE that every adult in the US be FORCED to have sleazy, for-profit, rip-off health insurance, with precious little health CARE in the bargain. He says that current health care "has no structure". He confuses a gun to the head with beneficial structure.

I view it as FORCED INSURANCE PREMIUMS for the profiteering and enrichment of the already rich, and a complete joke, just like car insurance. I've been paying car insurance for decades without incident. If I had all that money back, there would be no need of a stimulus anything for the economy. It is BS like this that is creating poverty, but then again, the whole idea is to bring about a broken and poor public, another Indonesia, so the corporations will have lots and lots of cheap labor. I mean, just look at the UAW who are going back to work after giving up their pensions and taking a slashing cut in their salaries. If this is "recovery" I'd hate to see what evisceration looks like.

Sen. Max Baucus is the May DemoRat of the month winner for his really Right-wing take on single-payer health care along with his really Right-wing method of handling the whole thing, too, (bullying the other committee members (Sen. Bill Nelson) and holding secret meetings closed to the public with NO public in-put into the process because he already KNOWS we don't want what he is about to shove down our throats. He KNOWS he's in the process of doing the WRONG THINGS but he's going to do it anyway; conscience be damned!

I'm not sure exactly who took single-payer off the table. It was first announced by Nancy Pelosi, then President Obama flip-flopped from his campaign promises on single-payer, then Max Baucus announced closed hearings. I'm assuming it came down from the top since it looks like this president has decided to go with trickle-down economics instead of the bubble-up economics for which we all gave him our votes in the last election.

One thing that really burns my toast is the ease with which these people have become accustomed to lying to the American public. I pray for the days of over-sight when this kind of in-your-face deception would get you fined big time! We need to make lots of noise about being lied to so much. Life is difficult enough without all the liars getting a free pass. The politicians together with the businesses and their executives are contemptuous and
condescending of us, like drunk and abusive fathers who just doesn't know when to stop and clean up their act; compulsive money junkies who are willing to judas the world for their next insatiable money fix. Why are we tolerating these reprobates? After thirty years of being kicked around, have we become so used to it that it feels good? Think about it.

Nothing changes if nothing changes
You will never get the truth from a pack of lies
Too much of anything and it becomes something else


Blue Cross Millionaires Are Scared to Compete With a Public Plan
Monday 25 May 2009
by: Dean Baker, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

A Blue Cross building in North Carolina. The health insurance company is running inaccurate television ads warning people against the prospect of a public health care option. (Photo: Bill Warren)
The boys running the show at Blue Cross in North Carolina are running scared. They're worried that President Obama is going to treat them like autoworkers and make them actually compete in the market. The Blue Cross boys think that they belong in the same league as the Wall Street bankers and should just be allowed to collect their multi-million-dollar salaries without being forced to worry about things like competition.

The basic story is that Blue Cross of North Carolina decided to jump the gun on President Obama and Congress and start running television ads telling people how awful a public health care plan would be. According to the ads, people enrolled in the public health care plan wouldn't have a choice of doctors, would face long waiting periods for appointments and procedures and would not even be able to get a clerk to answer questions on billing.

That sounds pretty awful, but if it were true, you have to wonder why Blue Cross of North Carolina is so worried. After all, President Obama is not proposing that anyone would be forced to join a public plan. He just proposed that people have the option to buy into a public plan. Is Blue Cross of North Carolina really that terrified that it will be unable to compete with a public plan that doesn't let patients choose their doctor, subjects them to long waits and doesn't answer questions about billing?

Of course, if the ads being planned by Blue Cross of North Carolina were accurate, then it would not be concerned about a public plan. The reason that Blue Cross of North Carolina is running the ads is that it knows the ads are not true. There is no reason to think that a public plan will offer less choice, require longer waits or provide poorer service than a private plan, like Blue Cross of North Carolina. And there are reasons for believing that a public plan might cost considerably less.

Specifically, the administrative expenses of a public plan like Medicare are far lower than the expenses for Blue Cross of North Carolina. According to its Annual Report, Blue Cross of North Carolina spent almost 15 percent of its premiums on administrative expenses in 2008. That came to more than $1.8 billion. This money would have been enough to cover the costs of insuring almost 600,000 kids through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Just five years earlier, Blue Cross of North Carolina spent more than 22 percent of premiums on administrative expenses.

By comparison, Medicare spends only about 2 percent of its revenue on administrative expenses. Unlike Blue Cross of North Carolina, Medicare doesn't earn profits and doesn't pay high salaries to its top executives. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Robert J. Greczyn Jr., the chief executive of Blue Cross of North Carolina, earned $3.2 million in 2007. That's enough to pay for a year's worth of SCHIP for 1,000 kids. Other top executives also drew salaries well in excess of $1 million, a pay range that exceeds the top levels in the public sector by an order of magnitude.

Given the high salaries that Blue Cross of North Carolina pays its top executives and the other administrative expenses that it bears as a result of being a private sector plan with high overhead, it is not surprising that it would be afraid of a public plan. A public plan would likely charge much lower prices, thereby pulling away a large share of Blue Cross of North Carolina's business. Insofar as it was able to hold on to its patients, Blue Cross of North Carolina would probably be forced to lower its prices - slashing its profit margins - in order to be able to compete. This is not a happy picture for any business: fewer customers and lower profit margins.

The answer, of course, is tough love. We just have to tell Blue Cross of North Carolina than it will have to learn to compete. If it can't beat out a public plan in market competition, then the public and the economy would be better served if it went into another line of business.

Bankers may have enough political power that they can milk the government without limits. However, this may not prove to be true for the health insurers. If President Obama continues to push for a public plan, the good folks running Blue Cross of North Carolina and the other insurers may actually have to work for their paychecks.