Once again, privatization of what should be government’s responsibility proves that privatization is really about avoiding any responsibility.
The New York Times reports:
Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.
Shocking, yes. Private insurers play parlor games with people’s lives, because their only concern is profit. This is about so much more than the mere outrage of these specific vultures preying on the vulnerable. This is, once again, the Conservative ideology revealed for what it is: greed, cruelty, and social blight.
The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.
Nothing to add, there. Except maybe a question: is improperly denying coverage to people with H.I.V and AIDS a crime against humanity? Are war crimes, alone, deserving of that appelation?
Since March, 11 companies have been fined by Medicare. Among them are three of the largest Medicare insurers- UnitedHealth, Humana and WellPoint.
The audits document widespread violations of patients’ rights and consumer protection standards. Some violations could directly affect the health of patients – for example, by delaying access to urgently needed medications.
But rest assured- HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt says the plan is saving seniors money. Presumably those who haven’t died, because they were denied the drugs they needed.
Industry execs make the excuses you would expect, but the Times lists the companies and the reasons they were cited.
David A. Lipschutz, of the non-profit California Health Advocates, gets to the bottom line- the bottom line. Explaining that the system still encourages predatory practices:
“Every enrollee in a private Medicare plan is a potential source of substantial profits,” Mr. Lipschutz said.
Exactly. Because large for-profit insurers are only in it for the profits. This needs be emphasized, again and again, because it is the moral black hole at the center of Republicanism: the Republican Party is the champion of Big Business, not people. And to their masters the Republicans will sacrifice as many people as is necessary.