Monday :: Oct 19, 2009

The Baucus Plan Will Kill People


by Turkana

An article in the Los Angeles Times explains yet another reason why a health care bill without a public option will be counter-productive. Why it will, in all probability, kill people. We all know that private insurance death panels sometimes deny expensive treatments, and because of the way some of the current bills are being written, they may end up with an even greater incentive to do so.

By requiring insurers to cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, healthcare reform will make it more difficult for insurers to control their costs, or "bend the cost curve," by avoiding sick people.

So, they'll cover them, but they'll just deny more and more of them those expensive treatments.

"There are going to be a lot of denials," said insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewski, a former health insurance executive.

The current bills do not protect patients, and the article points specifically to the heartbreaking case of Nataline Sarkisyan, the seventeen-year old who died when her insurer wouldn't pay for her needed liver transplant. Her parents sued, but the case was thrown out because of a legal loophole that currently effects about 132,000,000 people, who are insured by their employers. That loophole remains open, and it will remain open under current proposals. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, of California, says there aren't the votes in Congress to close that loophole. Schiff has an obvious solution. And that's yet another reason why the Baucus bill is such a failure.

The so-called public option, though controversial, was not included in the bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week. But it is still under consideration in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) favors it.

By forcing private insurers to compete, they have to improve their service. Once again, this is not difficult to figure out.

"Companies would be that much more scrupulous to ensure they provide the care necessary, because if you establish the reputation for denying care, there are not many buyers wanting your plan," Schiff said.

The article then uses two more examples to illustrate the point. Ephram Nehme and Glen Ossiander both were being treated for hepatitis at UCLA. Both, like Sarkisyan, needed liver transplants. Both faced long waits, in California, but both would get their livers much quicker, in Indiana. Nehme's private insurer refused to pay for an out--of-state operation. Fortunately, he was able to pay his own way, although the bill was more than $200,000. Ossiander also received his life-saving operation. Because he has that commie Nazi bureaucratic run government health insurance plan called Medicare, which he supplemented with some private insurance. A hybrid public option.

It comes down to this: with a public option, people like Nehme and Ossiander will be covered; without a public option, not only will people like Nataline Sarkisyan still be left to die, but there will be more of them. Because private insurers only want to make money, have no consciences or scruples, and will deny such life-saving treatments to more and more people. With plans such as the one passed by the Senate Finance Committee, private insurers will have a greater incentive for such denial of treatment. And more and more people will die. The Baucus plan will kill people.

Turkana :: 11:05 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!