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Yes, drop dead. We could care less about you getting the coverage you need when you need it -- our only responsibility is generating as much wealth for our shareholders as possible. We ain't in the health care business. Well, we say we are, but in reality we're nothing more than pseudo-investment banks earning interest off of your inflated premium payments and, then, sometimes, paying for a tylenol or two when you get sick.

The big-profit, blood-sucking, greedy schmucks at Aetna, CIGNA, WellPoint, UnitedHealthcare, and Huamana are preparing an epic lobbying push to water down Affordable Care Act provisions that might hit their bottom line just a tiny, little bit.

Bloomberg reports:

Top executives from UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellPoint Inc. are meeting almost monthly with their counterparts from Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc. in an informal lobbying alliance aimed at blunting parts of the health-care law, say people with knowledge of the sessions.

The arrangement began about six months ago, growing out of unrest over decisions by America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, the Washington-based lobbyist that also serves hundreds of small plans and nonprofit insurers, said the people who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly. The effort started with meetings between the companies’ Washington lobbyists, and now includes at least three committees that get together weekly, the people said.

Yup, the PR wizards at AHIP weren't doing a good enough job defending the profits of really, really, really big insurance -- so, they are doing as Wendell Potter says they will do in Deadly Spin, hiring the smooth operators at APCO Worldwide to mount a new campaign to confuse and lie to the American public.

The insurers called in public relations firms, including Washington-based APCO Worldwide, and Weber Shandwick, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. in New York, to solicit proposals for campaigns. The companies haven’t decided whether to move ahead, said two people with knowledge of those meetings.

Apparently, they're also concerned about anti-trust matters and are hiring a law firm to look into defending their government-sponsored monopolies as well.

The group has also hired the law firm Alston & Bird LLP to advise them on antitrust matters, according to two of the people familiar with the arrangement. Barbara Bryant, a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Alston, said in a voicemail that the firm wouldn’t comment on clients.

Here's what we should look forward to:

1.) The big-profit insurers saying the medical-loss ratios are too hard to meet because they can't average them over 310 million people, as compared to the state-by-state rule in ACA.

2.) The essential benefits package rules, which will make sure everyone in America gets the medically necessary care that they need to stay alive, are too restrictive and hurt consumer choice and innovation in benefit design.

3.) Fill in the blank here with any other aspect of the law that might hit the shareholders of Aetna or CIGNA in the pocket.

As Wendell Potter states in a recent analysis:

The court challenges and repeal efforts are, in reality, a useful smokescreen for the big insurers, whose real agenda is to gut the law while preserving the mandate. Expect a big lobbying and PR campaign — financed by our insurance premiums — to persuade us that the new regulations and consumer protections will make those premiums skyrocket.

The story much of the press missed was the revelation that the CEOs and lobbyists for the five biggest for-profits — UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, CIGNA and Humana — have been meeting frequently to plot their attack on the law

SO, ARE YOU ROYALLY PISSED YET?! Here's what gets me:

1.) Because of ERISA laws, big-profit insurers can't be sued for denying coverage of claims.
2.) Because of ERISA laws, big-profit insurers can't be forced out of business by states that want to create single-payer schemes.
3.) Because of anti-trust exemptions, big-profit insurers are free to monopolize markets. Alabama's Blue Cross  & Blue Shield controls 93 percent of the state's health insurance market!
4.) Because of Medicaid, big-profit insurers don't have to finance care for the poor and sick.
5.) Because of Medicare, big-profit insurers don't have to finance care for the old and really sick, or the disabled, or those with truly expensive problems (like end-stage kidney disease, which is uniquely financed by Medicare).
6.) Because of government-financed high-risk pools, insurers -- right now -- don't have to take those with expensive pre-existing conditions.
7.) Because of their whining, they don't have to work harder to compete with a public option.

Who and what do these whining, petulant big-profit bastards get?!

Well, they get a nice little boutique, for-profit market carved out for them by our government that means they only have to serve the NOT poor, the NOT old, and the NOT very sick. Talk about a sweetheart deal! It is not hyperbole at all when progressives claim that the ACA primarily serves to subsidize big-profit, private insurance companies in this country into perpetuity.

And, yet, assholes like Angela Braly of WellPoint and Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealthcare have the nerve to lobby against the meager consumer protections in the ACA?!

You know what the big-profit insurers are: whining, spoiled, over-privileged brats. And we need Medicare for all to kick their asses to the curb.

You've been warned: expect more deception from these crooks, and expect it soon -- all financed with your premium dollars.

Originally posted to james321 on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 09:04 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Those people are the scum of the earth (6+ / 0-)

    I have been 'royally pissed' for years now.

    •  When I told a UnitedHealthcare PR woman... (11+ / 0-)

      that she was like the "Wendell Potter" of PR at United she laughed...and then said she felt like they did some good work. I really, truly admire Mr. Potter for leaving and saying he will spend the rest of his living years atoning for what he did at CIGNA.

      Here's the girl I was trying to help:

      •  There should be a special place in Hell (9+ / 0-)

        for insurance companies.  Heartless bastards!

      •  A Recent Column by the local Democratic Party (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        james321

        in our newspaper reads:

        Saving Wendell Potter's Soul

        This is the story of how a man named Wendell Potter saved his soul.

        Mr. Potter used to be the top spokesman of one of the biggest health insurance corporations in the world, CIGNA. He made a ton of money, and he got around on private corporate jets with leather seats, and he was served gourmet lunches on gold-rimmed plates.  He could afford whatever he wanted. He could send his children to the finest schools. Life was good.

        Mr. Potter did CIGNA proud. He helped them make sure insurance corporations got exactly what they wanted by spending over $586 million on Washington lobbyists.  He participated in "secret" meetings to compile three-ring notebooks about how to fool people into thinking reforming our health system was a bad
        idea by simply calling it a "government takeover." He even went as a "CIGNA spy" to a teenage girl's funeral after neighbors were all up in arms because CIGNA had denied her claim for a liver transplant.

        Then, one day, something happened to Mr. Potter that became a "divine intervention" for him - an awakening, if you will, that what he was doing on behalf of CIGNA and against poor and hard-working people was immoral and against God.

        While visiting his family in rural Virginia, Mr. Potter attended a local health fair at the Wise County Fairground: "I felt as if I'd stepped into a movie set or a war zone. Hundreds of people...were waiting in lines that stretched out of view....I noticed some of those lines led to barns and cinder-block buildings with row after row of animal stalls, where doctors and nurses were treating patients. There could have been people, and probably were, that I had grown up with....And that made it real to me."

        So Mr. Wendell Potter, scared but determined, quit his job with CIGNA to preach the ugly truth about America's corporate health-care system to anyone who would listen, because he believed that "the hottest places in hell are
        reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain a neutrality."

        Now Mr. Potter travels on his own time and money to remind us that America has more uninsured people than the entire population of Canada. That the health insurance industry doesn't want any competition like a public option or a Medicare buy-in for all because it
        will cut into their profits. That denying care, and kicking people off their policies when they get sick, and jacking up rates is all about Wall Street shareholder profits, not care.

        While Mr. Potter continues his fight, the Republican House of Representatives is trying to roll back the small victories that were made in the recent health-insurance reform bill without offering any improvements or
        ideas of their own. That's because the GOP doesn't want those millions of lobbyist dollars to dry up, and they don't want their financiers to have to give up eating off gold-rimmed china.

        Mr. Potter says of his years working for the corrupt and powerful, "I had sold my soul."

        Republicans in Congress have sold their souls, too.

        "Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me."-- Harry S. Truman

        by irmaly on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 05:32:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is heart (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River, irate, peachcreek, james321

    Breaking.

    Have they no shame?

    We are not a 3rd world country. But, we are certainly no better than 3rd rate in areas like healthcare, education, telecommunications, quality of life.

    by karma13612 on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 09:25:19 PM PST

  •  None of it is a suprise. T&R'd. Keep pushing (6+ / 0-)

    this out there. Special place in Hell indeed for those folks.

    "I have ferrets with fins" - African Cichlids. And (3 - nope....) 2 pooties too! Ren (crossed the Rainbow Bridge 10/19/10), Stimpy (16 yrs) and Rocky (4 yrs)

    by mrsgoo on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 09:51:07 PM PST

  •  Don't loose hope. We got our nose under (5+ / 0-)

    the tent.  Remember that Social Security started out just being for widows and orphans.  

  •  Who doesn't love innovations like (6+ / 0-)

    "Your X-Rays are covered*"

    * if you are admitted to the hospital. (Merely having them done in the hospital doesn't count. Not even if it's the ER and something was broken.)

    "Your prescriptions will be A Different Price Each Month. You'll find out the price when you show up! Awesome!"

    "We'll pay for your injectable medications, but not for the nurse to inject them!"

    "We've decided that asthma inhaler is no longer necessary for you! Aren't you glad?"

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 10:51:42 PM PST

  •  Little correction on the last sentence (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, peachcreek, james321

    Should read "all financed with your excessively high premium dollars".

    Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

    by Kitsap River on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 11:34:15 PM PST

  •  I think I see the problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, tim woods, james321

    All the lawyers working on this seem to have been hired by the insurance companies. WE, THE PEOPLE, don't seem to have our own lawyers. Why don't we all throw some money in a pot and hire some lawyers to represent us?

    I've really had it with insurance companies. I'm about one year away from Medicare, and with luck, it looks like I'll make it til then without having to do anything ultra expensive about my MS. But, I'm really worried about my kids and grandkids.

    WTF do for-profit insurance companies do that's productive?

    SS didn't cause our financial problems. Now let's move on. -- RustyBrown

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 12:12:51 AM PST

  •  I have decided that health insurance simply (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, slapshoe, james321

    is not a sustainable industry. The sooner this industry is legislatively eliminated, the better.

    A small part of it is beyond their control. American Medicine (tm) is excessively expensive (twice the Industrial World average) and some of the treatments bump into the US$2 Million lifetime limit. How is it that someone can run up medical bills equal to far more than the vast percentage of Americans will earn over their lifetime? This is a dysfunctional system whose problems go beyond a broken insurance industry.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 04:30:40 AM PST

  •  The anti-trust exemption is more limited (0+ / 0-)

    Because of anti-trust exemptions, big-profit insurers are free to monopolize markets

    Anti-trust provisions relating to monopolies and market consolidation do apply to insurance.  The anti-trust exemption only applies to information sharing, and leaves intact and applicable to insurance what we typically think of anti-trust law.

  •  My story (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tim woods, james321

    Through luck, hard work, & frugality, my husband and I were able to retire early.  I now understand why most people can't.  We are eligible for a State Retiree plan.  We are in a group of mostly older people but among the few who don't yet qualify for Medicare.  Our premiums have been raised to $14,000 a year.  This has not stopped the increases in copays and the denial of prescriptions.  In fact, I just renewed my generic prescriptions and it was cheaper to buy them without using my insurance.  We have watched UnitedHealthCare gobble up most other options here.  And  yet they had the gall to send us a letter about the premium increase that hinted it was due to HCR.  We are seriously looking at moving Mexico until we qualify for Medicare.

    •  That's a horrible story... (0+ / 0-)

      and the Affordable Care Act doesn't make me feel any better b/c older people will still be able to be charged 3x more than younger people, which is NOT how similar systems work in the Netherlands and Switzerland -- everyone there is charged the same.

      United Healthcare is big and cruel. Look what they do to children, too: http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  THANK YOU FOR SAYING 'ERISA' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, james321

    sorry to speak so loudly, but this stuff needs to be screamed from the mountain tops because no one knows this shit until they maim or kill and then no one is responsible for care which was withheld.

    there was ONLY ONE congressman who screamed about this and he was a republican who resigned.

    this REALLY needs to be a dem issue.  it's TRULY important.

    yeah, this stuff nearly got me killed.

    "Limited government only sounds good as an abstraction, but the principles of the free market won't get you too far when your house is on fire." ~Joshua Holland

    by MsGrin on Wed Feb 09, 2011 at 09:38:01 PM PST

    •  You're welcome! The ERISA problem... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radarlady

      is one of the biggest issues blocking real reform.

      Why shouldn't we be able to sue our big-profit insurers if they deny care that was later found to be medically necessary? Under current ERISA law, you can only recoup the cost of the denied treatment, but not all the pain, suffering and lost income as a result of the denied treatment.

  •  how are top execs of all the healthcare companies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321

    meeting to change policy as a group, NOT a trust in violation of the Sherman antitrust laws?

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 01:23:55 AM PST

  •  So -- time to repeal ERISA? nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:00:46 AM PST

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