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Politics & Power

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The Insurance Industry Shows Its True Colors As The Senate Comes Closer To Passing A Healthcare Reform Bill

Monday the insurance industry released a preemptive strike report saying that if the bill sponsored by Senator Baucus that passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday became law insurance premiums for their customers would increase. The thinly veiled threat was not lost on members of the Finance Committee in Tuesday’s final hearing before the vote was taken to pass it from committee to the full Senate. Senator Chuck Schumer alluded to the report by the insurance industry in his comments before the committee vote to bring it before the entire Senate saying that it demonstrated that a “public option” was the only thing that would bring real reform and accountability to healthcare in America.

With reform legislation inching closer and closer to passage in Congress those who stand to lose the most are intensifying their efforts to stop it. Conservatives taking millions in campaign contributions from big insurance and insurance industry groups with their armies of lobbyists are using every argument that they can think of to derail real healthcare reform. As the fight intensifies it is becoming clear what the priorities of the involved parties are. The insurance companies and the politicians who are beholden to them are intent on killing any form of meaningful reform because it will cost them money.

Insurance companies care about one thing and one thing only. They want to make as much money as they can. Reform of their industry means that they can no longer make outrageous profits while leaving hard working people high and dry when it comes to actually getting health issues addressed. They are now going to do the same thing they did to the Clinton healthcare initiative in 1993. They are going to use every scare tactic they can to make people think that if government steps in to bring sweeping change to the system the people will suffer for it. To some degree they could be right if not enough is done. This time the people need to encourage their elected officials to stand firm and pass meaningful reform that actually helps Americans in need of long overdue relief from the staggering toll of a healthcare industry run amok.

There are key things that need to be included in the final bill sent to the President if healthcare reform is to truly benefit all Americans:

  • A National Department of Insurance should be created to regulate underwriting guidelines and premium tiering for health insurance providers.

  • All medical coverage plans need to include any and all medical treatments deemed necessary by a patient’s doctor. (Denial of coverage should not be allowed if the treatment is deemed a necessary treatment by a medical professional with supporting evidence that the treatment will likely improve the health or quality of life of the patient or improve the odds of their survival in life threatening medical situations.)

  • Pre-existing conditions should not be allowed to be a consideration for rating, premium tiering or binding health insurance policies.

  • There should be an elimination of lifetime or annual caps on coverage for individuals, groups or families.

  • A maximum percentage of profits should be set for health insurers.

  • Funds used for executive compensation should be listed as after profit expenditures instead of overhead or payroll expenditures.

  • Premium increases should be annually reviewed and require approval of the newly created National Department of Insurance similar to reviews required by individual State agencies that regulate underwriting guidelines and premiums for personal and commercial auto, home, life and umbrella insurance policies.

  • Exclusive patents for drugs should be eliminated and replaced with licensing rights for products requiring sharing of breakthroughs between pharmaceutical companies to promote lower drug costs across the board.

  • Tort reform should be enacted setting maximum limits of $1 million in pain and suffering damages for medical malpractice with no limit for ongoing medical care related to injuries suffered. (This allows for reasonable compensation for pain and suffering and assures that ongoing medical issues related to medical malpractice are addressed. It also allows medical professionals to carry lower malpractice limits lowering the premiums they have to pay for malpractice insurance.)

  • Every American must be covered and have access to ongoing wellness care in addition to catastrophic or emergency care.

  • No exclusivity in any market for health insurance should be allowed. (For cost to be reduced there must be competition in all markets. In markets where no competition exists, a government option should be made available to consumers.)
The fundamental issues driving the healthcare crisis in America need to be addressed in order for the people to benefit from healthcare reform. One thing that does not need to be heavily debated or even considered is the profits of insurance companies and drug manufacturers. For decades they have made unreasonable profits on the backs of the American consumer. It is time for them to have some leaner times so that the people they have bilked can get the healthcare they need at a reasonable cost. Nobody should have to pay $1,000 per month or more for necessary medications. No more patients in America should die so that some executive gets a bonus for improving company profits. No more families should lose their homes because their insurance company refuses to pay for medical treatments needed by a family member. It is time for real, meaningful reform.

The insurance companies have shown their hand. They have said that if Congress and the President try to enact real reform they will fight back by raising premiums. It’s time for Congress to show that they still have some real power and pass a strong healthcare reform bill that tells the insurance industry they are not going to be allowed to gouge people anymore. Healthcare industry executives have shown themselves to be unscrupulous and untrustworthy and it’s time government treats them as such when passing legislation to regulate the industry. The rules need to be harsh, unwavering and crystal clear. There should be no loopholes left open for companies to skirt the laws and the legislation should be aimed at focusing on the patients and doctors first in every case. Money concerns should have no place in medical treatment decisions. Corporate executives cannot be trusted to look out for the well being of American families. That is what we elect Congress and the President to do.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer| Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article

Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to:

Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to

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All written items received by Reform America become the sole property of Reform America. Reform America reserves the right to publish or otherwise disseminate (with author acknowledgment noted) the contents of any written materials received by us at our discretion. By sending written materials to Reform America, the author agrees to these terms and holds Reform America harmless for any use of the items they submit. | Views expressed in articles submitted to Reform America by our readers do not necessarily reflect the views of Reform America or its staff.