Those "death panels" really do exist
MediaMatters -- August 20, 2009
To date, the media have debunked the "kill granny" lie more than 40 times. The nonpartisan FactCheck.org says the claim of mandatory counseling on ending seniors' lives is "a misrepresentation." ABC's chief medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, said "the idea about death panels" is "not at all legitimate." PolitiFact.com has called "death panel" claims "a ridiculous falsehood." When the Associated Press conducted a fact check of the bogus charge, it reported, "No 'death panel in health care bill.' "
After former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed that "Obama's 'death panel' " could decide the fate of her parents or her son who has Down syndrome, conservative radio host Larry Elder aptly called her comments "over the top." [...]
It seems Sarah's still the pied-piper leading her own Twitter Parade ...
Despite the coverage allotted to debunking the right-wing "death panel" smear, the bigger picture remains intact. Americans face real death panels from their own health insurance providers. Rather than simply debunking the right's false talking point, the media should have gone one step further and pointed out that health insurance companies make life-and-death decisions every day when they decide what they are willing and not willing to cover.
Journalist Froma Harrop has broken her silence, to share her personal anguish of having to face such the real world "Death Panels" found at 800-number of the Private Insurance Company, as her husband valiantly fought, and struggled to survive, his painful battle with cancer:
Free-Market Death Panels
By Froma Harrop -- August 18, 2009
"Death panels"? I'll tell you about death panels. My husband faced one some years ago, and it didn't involve any government bureaucrat. It was run by our private insurer [...]
My husband was diagnosed with liver cancer. We were "insured" by United Healthcare. The deal was as follows: You had to use doctors on its list, but if you needed specialized care outside the network, United's health-maintenance organization would pay for it. Fair enough.
A liver expert within the network said point blank that for my husband's case, there was but one place to go, a specialized chemotherapy program [...]
But United Healthcare refused to pay for it.
We naively tried to go through United Healthcare's appeals process. We would call the number and speak to a handler who said our case would be reconsidered. Days later, a one-sentence letter would arrive by slow mail saying that we were being denied, but call this number to challenge the verdict.
Around and around we went. We could never speak to anyone making the decisions. No one would even talk to our doctor, who at one point whispered to us, "Mortgage the house."
I became convinced that the insurance company was trying to run out the clock on my husband's life.
A year after my husband died, I was still receiving medical bills for some of the treatment that United Healthcare had agreed to cover.
In 2006, William "Dollar Bill" McGuire, CEO of parent-company UnitedHealth Group, walked off with a $1.1 billion golden parachute (on top of the $500 million he had already raked in)
Unfortunately the stalling and denial tactics of the United Healthcare "Denial Death Panel" worked -- BUT ONLY for United!
It didn't work out so well for the Harrops -- who lost their painful struggle with Cancer, no thanks to United Healthcare profit-first policies!
United Healthcare avoided paying for the Harrops' expensive Cancer Treatments, and also managed to pay their CEO McGuire's expensive Billion Dollar compensation package. They set the pace that the other Private Insurance Companies must match, if they are to "remain competitively" viable Corporations.
Too bad, keeping people "viable", is a low priority, to such Profit Panels -- ALREADY very well entrenched!
So the next time you hear some one arguing that Death Panels are terrible thing -- quietly agree, and then tell the tale of Froma Harrop and her veteran husband, and the cruel Judgment they patiently endured, as their private "Death Panel", silently pocketed their premiums, all the while denying them Care, at every turn.
Unfortunately however, Harrops are NOT alone. Many other have shared their fate.
Too many of us have faced these heartless Judgments, of the private Insurance "Death Panels", also known as the Status Quo. ... Judge, Jury and Executor, they are -- that is IF you're lucky enough to even have one of their "Policies" in the first place ... pity the fool who went and became Unemployed -- they face their own unique brand of Death and Peril, otherwise known as, The Uninsured.
This is the system, the rightwingers are fighting to maintain -- IF only the MSM would interview the Victims, instead of the Victimizers ... IF only they would DO their JOBS, one time known as, Journalism.
Congressman Anthony Weiner recently asked Morning Joe Scarborough some Questions about Health Insurance companies, that you rarely hear on TV these days.
Morning Joe had NO real answer, except for, that's just the way it is ...
"Why are we paying profits for insurance companies?" Anthony Weiner asked Scarborough. "Why are we paying overhead for insurance companies? Why," he asked, bringing it all home, "are we paying for their TV commercials?"
What is an insurance company? They don't do a single check-up. They don't do a single exam, they don't perform an operation. Medicare has a 4 percent overhead rate. The real question is why do we have a private plan?
"It sounds like you're saying you think there is no need for us to have private insurance in healthcare," Joe asked at one point.
Weiner replied: "I've asked you three times. What is their value? What are they bringing to the deal?"
Clueless Joe, could not name ONE THING of Health Care Value, that Private Insurers bring to the table, in exchange for their endlessly rising Insurance Premiums.
Of course, though all those Cialis-type Drug Ads, probably keep pundits, like Joe Scarborough on the air. No wonder, Joe was speechless.
He couldn't bite the hand that feeds him -- that wouldn't be Corporately-viable now, would it?
Then in 1997, under pressure from drug-makers and advertising-hungry commercial broadcasters, the FDA issued a guidance throwing open the floodgates on DTC ads [direct-to-consumer].
How much has changed since?
DTC drug ad revenues mushroomed from $12 million a decade ago to $41 billion in 2005, a 342-fold increase.
It seems that the Corporate Media faces its own Revenue Dilemma, if they actually started covering the Real Story of the already existing Death Panels, that Real Americans must endure, as Private Insurer bean counters hand down their sterile Decisions on Life and Death -- and Corporate Profits.
And next to NO Real Appeal Process exists, when they DON'T decide in your Favor -- just ask Froma Harrop!
What DO Private Insurers bring to the Health Care equation -- that Medicare-for-All DOESN'T ???
Good Question ... Hopefully someone will keep asking it.