Lobbyists poured $1,400,000 a day into Congressional and Senate campaign coffers. They hired key Congressional staffers to give them even more access. Did they get anything in return? You bet they did. The biggest gift . . .no public option.
The votes were there for a public option, especially when the insanity of the 60 vote super majority was rendered obsolete with the election of Scott Brown. So why no public option? Because the insurance industry said, NO! And Democrats complied.
President Obama says this bill has "taken the insurance industry out of the driver's seat". This just isn't accurate.
The president needs a reality check and sadly he may get one (at the polls) when Americans start to experience skyrocketing premiums, deductibles, co-pays, ongoing denials of care and huge problems.
I suggest you read this reality check and if you're so inclined, send it to the White House Ten Ways Insurance Companies Will Get Out of Reforming.
Here, for example, is what millions of Americans will face when it comes time to renew the premium for their junk insurance.
- Raising premiums
There is absolutely, positively no prohibition on companies raising premiums at outrageous rates until 2014 — so they’re not going to stop. And politicians in Washington might scream, but the volume will be far less next year because the President won’t have a reform bill to pass.
The Washington Post is also laying it all on the line.
-- I'm self-employed and buy insurance on my own. Last year, it went up $200 a month, and I'm worried it will go up more in the future because of this bill. Will it?
That is hard to predict. The legislation does immediately create a process for reviewing increases in health plan premiums and requires plans to justify any increases. And once the state-based American Health Benefit Exchanges are up and running in 2014, you will be able to shop for health insurance among competing carriers.
Well, truthfully, it's not so hard to predict. I've already checked the rates for my own $3000 high deductible junk insurance. They are skyrocketing. If I were to renew today the premium is up about 17%. My renewal is in December so, I'm expecting the renewal to be up who knows, 25%, maybe more.
In short order, Americans will recognize that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed on March 23, 2010, as well as provisions in the Health Care & Education Reconciliation Act passed by the House and Senate is not progressive legislation. It's a very small and timid first step, it's better than nothing, but isn't it sad, that this is all it is.
But for starters, no one should live in a fantasy land that the insurance industry is going to play fair, why should they? Without a public option, this industry is going to wage war against the American people. And it's going to be aided and abetted every step of the way by the Chamber of Commerce which will spend $50 million to blunt the impact of the regulations which will implement the law.
Some think I am unduly pessimistic, so I'll go to the experts, I'll let my friend Wendell Potter (the former CIGNA executive and whistle blower), explain what insurers have planned.
The new law's ban on discriminating against adults with preexisting conditions doesn't kick in until 2014.
"In the meantime, they can continue to cherry pick the healthiest customers, while foisting the sick into the new high-risk pool," said Wendell Potter, a former senior health insurance executive at CIGNA who went rogue and became a consumer advocate.
That's only the beginning, though.
"They also will continue to try to shift more and more of the cost of health care from them to the people that are enrolled in their plans," Potter said. That involves moving people currently in managed care, with its relatively modest co-pays, "out of those plans and into high-deductible plans that make people pay thousands of dollars before the company will pay a dime," Potter said.
"Managed care was last decade's silver bullet," he told HuffPost. "The new silver bullet for the insurance industry is the high-deductible plan. More and more people will not get a dime from their insurance companies."
Or Dr. Marcia Angell editor of The New England Journal of Medicine who now teaches at Harvard Medical School.
And next time they start to weasel, Congress and the White House -- and the media -- may not be paying attention anymore.
"This is what you're going to see as each element in this plan comes up for implementation," said Marcia Angell, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine who now teaches at Harvard Medical School. "This insurance industry is going to give up nothing."
In the short run, companies are expected to keep doing what they've been doing, which means, among other things, jacking up their rates. "There's nothing to stop them from raising their premiums, and that's what they're going to do," said Angell, a supporter of "single-payer" health insurance.
"This insurance industry is going to give up nothing."
I should add that the cost shifting that Wendell describes is exactly what has happened to me and countless millions of Americans.
Given all that's expected, we're working on an exciting project to expose insurer atrocities, and will have much more to say about this in the near future.
In the meantime, thank you for your generous support of our work. We will not stop and we will not be silent about the huge flaws in this legislation.
Silence on healthcare is not good for Democrats or our nation.
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