I don’t want to inadvertently depress you on a gorgeous Friday afternoon, but this BusinessWeek article is a must-read for anyone even marginally interested in the health care reform landscape. It explains exactly why we have to keep the pressure on. Democrats in Congress are being courted by the insurance industry – heavily courted – and while much damage may already be done, we’ve still got a fighting chance if we continue to mobilize and remind Congress it should be working for us – not kowtowing to special interest influence. Here’s a snippet of the write primarily focused on UnitedHealth:
A fundamental question about the health overhaul is what minimum standards will apply to the coverage all Americans will be required to have. UnitedHealth has been exchanging a high volume of information on the topic with members of the Senate Finance Committee and their staff. Stevens, the former British health aide, regularly scans PowerPoint presentations generated by the committee staff that attempt to calculate the actuarial value of proposed benefit packages. Senators stung by the projected $1 trillion price tag are winnowing down the required coverage levels to cut costs.
This is good news for UnitedHealth, which benefits when patients pick up more of the tab. In late spring, the Finance Committee was assuming a 76% reimbursement rate on average, meaning consumers would be responsible for paying the remaining 24% of their medical bills, in addition to their insurance premiums. Stevens and his UnitedHealth colleagues urged a more industry-friendly ratio. Subsequently the committee reduced the reimbursement figure to 65%, suggesting a 35% contribution by consumers—more in line with what the big insurer wants. The final figures are still being debated.
The rest of the article is equally infuriating. But as I’ve said before, getting mad is good if it makes you want to take action.
On that note, here’s our new page explaining how you can get involved during Take Action August.
And now we’ve got a Fight the Smears page where you can cut and paste an email to send back in response to anyone who forwards you lies about health care reform.