I've been following the Krugman - Obama dust up with some interest and alarm.
Alarm, because in my opinion, it takes the spotlight off the real healthcare horrors.
I have one request of our candidates.
More than anything, I'd like Senators Obama, Clinton and Edwards to tell me how my day-to-day dealings with the Murder By Spreadsheet insurance industry will improve, when their healthcare reform plan becomes law? Walk me through this, dear candidates.
Give me a day in the life of an American citizen, the day after your healthcare reform legislation become law. And I'd like to know where we'll stand if flawed legislation becomes the law of the land?
We're desperate. We need to know that very ill people across the United States will no longer have to fight these merciless insurance industry predators, who take our money then refuse to pay for urgent lifesaving care.
I'd like our candidates to convince me that healthcare reform will mean that the best people in our nation will select medicine as a career.
If so, you'll need to convince the next generation of doctors that they won't face the abuses our current beleaguered health heroes endure.
Will healthcare reform mean that doctors won't continue to spend half their lives battling the for-profit insurance industry to get treatments authorized for critically ill Americans, and then the other half, battling to get paid 20 cents on the dollar for the life-saving work they do?
What a waste of such highly-trained talent. Doctors should be saving lives, not struggling with insurers who seek only to maximize their profits.
And how will healthcare reform deal with
criminals health insurance executives like William McGuire, the former CEO of UnitedHealth, who has finally been forced to forfeit at least $418 million to settle claims related to back-dated stock options? You owe it to yourself to read the article in the New York Times. You think you're angry? Talk to me again after you've read the piece.
There's no escaping the fact that the cost issue in heathcare reform is huge. And Obama's recognition that if insurance is affordable, people will be eager to be insured makes sense.
But, as far as I know, Obama has yet to explain his definition of "affordable". Nor, I believe, have Edwards or Clinton. The devil is in the details.
Under Obama's plan will I be paying the same subsidized rate as my Congressperson? Under Clinton, Edwards?
Senator Obama, I am currently paying $7557.96 a year for barely decent coverage. Under your plan, will I pay the same $188.42 a month that my Congressperson pays for his taxpayer-subsidized coverage?
Senator Obama, next year, assuming another 8-10% increase, my premium will go to approximately $8312.00. Is this affordable? If you consider this affordable, then we're circling very different planets. Same question for you, Senators Clinton and Edwards.
Ezra Klein is correct, going on a tear against Paul Krugman, does to solve the crisis, and isn't helping me or anyone else access affordable healthcare. It's also frankly rather tone deaf. Paul Krugman is one of our greatest. And I really hope the army of Obama supporters at Daily Kos will recognize I say this as a very concerned citizen, not as a partisan.
Despite the fact that I pay huge premiums, my insurer does not treat me, or my claims, with even a modicum of courtesy, or a smidgen of professionalism. And by the way, trying to reach a human being on the phone at a health insurance company, is an exercise in futility. But it's also deliberate. They want us to give up in frustration. Always remember, the business model is designed to make you give up.
One small suggestion. I hope healthcare reform will require as a matter of law that all health insurance providers have people promptly answering the phones 24/7. Now of course, this function will be outsourced to a Third World call center, but at least, we'll be speaking to a human being.
Returning for a moment to our present bleak reality. They take our money, then deny all responsibility. Again, this is the business model in the United States. They hope we will back off and go away. And many of us do.
Here's the email I just sent to the insurer about a bill they refuse to acknowledge. I've taken out the identifying details because I don't want any additional problems with these scum-suckers.
This claim MUST be applied against my 2007 deductible. This was a XXXXX PRE-CERTIFIED MRI. The XXXXX pre-certification # is:XXXXXXXXXXXXX This is the fee to the radiologist for reading the damn MRI. As usual, you are trying to weasel out of your responsibilities. Do I need to contact the NYS Attorney General? I pay close to $700 a month for this junk insurance, you take my money then play games with me and everyone else. Kindly apply this against my 2007 deductible and do it immediately. I expect a response from you with 72 hours. Eve XXXXXX
I may have mentioned that I had an MRI a month or two ago.
The MRI facility I went to at the suggestion of my doctor is within the confines of a major New York teaching hospital.
The MRI facility would not allow me to make the appointment until I provided them with a pre-authorization number from my insurance company.
The MRI facility is an approved provider. Apparently the radiologist who reads the MRI is not an approved provider, so I'll have to pay this doctor the retail price. But his fee of close to $500 should be applied against my 2007 deductible.
Instead, the scum insurer is simply denying the claim outright. They already sent me an EOB (explanation of benefits) which stated the service is NOT PRECERTIFIED - NO PAYMENT.
I'll survive, I've got a loud mouth. But this is right from the
insurance industry Murder By Spreadsheet playbook. This is the routine treatment inflicted on people dying of terminal diseases.
So again, my questions to the candidates are simple.
- How is your health plan going to make my life better?
- Will I still be engaged in endless conflict with an insurance industry which has only one mandate, to increase profits, not provide care?
- Will I pay the same premiums as my Congressperson for the same level as coverage?
- Will the sort of scenerio I've just described be outlawed? And will your healthcare reform plan include draconian penalties against Murder By Spreadsheet insurers cited for wrongdoing?