As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Closing In On The Insurance Industry

Lots of groups are taking action against the insurance industry and their attempts to get a forced market for themselves and increase their profits at the expense of their customers.

Health Care For America Now has a new ad spotlighting Stephen Helmsley, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, and his $57,000-an-hour lifestyle, contrasted against the thousands of families who have experienced a medical bankruptcy:

In connection with that, SEIU is encouraging supporters to take out Craigslist ads seeking to rent a room in an insurance company CEO mansion. They have the Craigslist sites for Philadelphia (CIGNA's Edward Hamway), Minneapolis (UnitedHealth's Stephen Helmsley) and Indianapolis (WellPoint's Angela Braly), and sample "room for rent" ads to work from. A sample:

Bankrupt Mother of Two, Seeking Room @ Insurance CEO Mansion

I'’m seeking a room to rent in Cigna CEO Ed Hanway’s $13.6 million dollar mansion. (We'’ll take a room in one of his three beach homes, too.) My family would be very quiet and courteous housemates, and given the size of Ed's mansion, he won't even hear us! I'll be bringing along my two twin girls, both of whom were diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. CIGNA is refusing to pay for the human growth hormone they need to grow properly - and the out-of-pocket expenses for this treatment are…

This is the Craigslist ad of Stacie Ritter of Philadelphia, who is literally holding a protest outside Ed Hamway's home as we speak, standing outside until she gets the care she needs from CIGNA.

MoveOn member Dawn Smith is faced with a similar struggle from CIGNA. They raised her prescription drug costs for her treatable brain tumor by 10,000%. She is writing to CIGNA to seek answers, and you can sign her letter.

What makes you think you can treat sick people this way? When will you stop doing this to me and the thousands of people like me who are suffering? And if you solve this latest problem, how do I know you won't do this to me again next week--that you're actually changing your ways and not just trying to make your PR problem disappear?

Please answer these questions. I need to know, for the sake of my health and my life. Many others have signed this letter too, to support me and make sure I get answers.

The truth is starting to leak out. Even the traditional media is covering stories about insurers denying coverage by calling a broken wrist a pre-existing condition. This is an industry that is doing whatever it can to maximize their profits, even though they know a public option wouldn't bankrupt them. The more people understand how the industry works, the easier it will be to get a health bill that works for all of us.

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