BCBS's website banner: "Multi-ethnic Family in Field of Flowers." Dad lost his job and so the family lost their insurance. Daughter's chemotherapy got cut off.
In an exercise in cynicism and machoism, the Nabobs visited the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Website. WARNING!!! What is seen after clicking this link can never be unseen.
We are 100% in favor of Universal Health Care for all American citizens and permanent residents–nothing else will do. But so long as we are living in the U.S (which won’t be much longer, with any luck) we are captive to health insurance providers like everyone else is (except for those over 65 years of age, current military and veterans, the very poor, Native Americans and federal workers including elected officials). When we had to get health insurance after losing coverage from our prior insurer (in no other industry would consumers be punished for being a long-term customer ) we were denied coverage by BCBS and some others insurers for having a ‘preexisting condition,’ though by most measures we are physically healthy. Mentally, however…
Of course we are very cynical, and so not much surprises us. But even OUR faith in humanity was challenged when we visited BCBS’s website. To see the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website, one would think that they were visiting the website of a pro-insurance reform group.
We’ve learned how to differentiate a real activist group from a corporate sponsored ‘astroweed’ group like “Citizens United” and “gethealthreformright.org.” is a group that is linked–literally–with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. If the organization uses archival (stock) photography for it’s website’s images, than it is most likely not a grassroots organization. These images can be bought online:
Getty Images website:
Multiethnic doctors ” > Multi-Ethnic Group > Healthcare And Medicine > Doctor > Looking At Camera > Happiness:
“BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. SUPPORT HEALTH REFORM.”
Clicking on BCBS’s stock photo banner (“multi-ethnic Family in Field of Flowers”) takes you to this website where BCBS helpfully explain:
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association strongly believes it’s critical that we enact comprehensive healthcare reform legislation this year. Healthcare costs are squeezing American families and businesses, and costing billions of dollars in government spending. Nearly 47 million Americans do not have insurance coverage. Too many people are not filling prescriptions or going to the doctor because they can’t afford it.
We believe we can’t afford not to fix our healthcare system.
You read that correctly; one of the largest insurers in the country claims that, “it’s critical that we enact comprehensive healthcare reform legislation this year.”
They continue: “We believe everyone in America should have health insurance and access to quality care.”
On what planet do these people live on?
Reform is necessary and nearly 50 million people are uninsured, American families and businesses are getting squeezed, and 18,000 people die every year (that goes unmentioned on the BCBS website) because of BCBS’s OWN PRACTICES. BCBS is rubbing this fact in the reader’s face while it cynically asks it’s customers to support insurance reform.
In the ugly background, however, insurance companies like BCBS, Cigna and United Health are funding the ugly anti-reform efforts that counter pro-reformers with arguments like, “WHAT ARE YOU A [COMMUNIST?!?!, SOCIALIST!?!?. FASCIST?!?!?], HEALTH CARE IS FOR NAZIS!!! and I INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!.
Whatever helps them and their employees sleep at night…
Insurers like BCBS could change their practices TOMORROW and help alleviate some of the problems they highlight in their website–which they began and have exacerbated–that they mention on their own website. BCBS could drop the practice of denying coverage for ‘preexisting conditions’ (denying coverage to applicants because of a prior condition) and recessions (that is, taking away customer’s health care coverage WHEN they need it). Also, they could help curb the cost of insurance by LOWERING PRICES.
We must conclude that BCBS (and other large health insurance companies) do not support health insurance reform once bit. A nice mom and pop corporation like Blue Cross/Blue Shield does not want to be seen down in the mud with the reform opponents who tote placards showing President Obama as an African Medicine Man , compare him to Hitler and the Nazis or paint him in white face to look like Ledger’s The Joker with the words “Socialist” underneath. Instead they give large donations to conservative ‘astroweed’ groups like the ‘Swift Boat’ founder David Bossie’s Citizens United, and Dick Army’s Freedom Works; groups which organize those charming Tea Party marches on Washington.
But lest you still believe that BCBS actually supports Barack Obama’s milquetoast health insurance plan, continue reading BCBS’s ‘reform’ page. Towards the bottom BSBC provides readers with a link which says: “Tell Congress to get Health reform Right.” By clicking this link, we were taken to this website: http://www.gethealthreformright.org/. Reading this website puts BCBS’s position in a little more perspective:
We all agree more must be done to help those without coverage and to keep costs down for everybody. Instead of trying to change the healthcare system that works today, let’s build on it to ensure coverage for the uninsured. Creating a new government-run health plan is unnecessary to expand coverage to the uninsured and will cause many people to lose the current employer coverage they like today.
Since, unfortunately, nobody is proposing “creating a new government-run health plan,” we must conclude that this is the same type of scare tactic used by the ‘Right Wing Noise Machine.’ The only difference is that BCBS’s website has a nice stock photo: “Three Multi-Racial Doctors Smiling in Background with Smiling Asian Doctor in Foreground.”
IT’S NOT PRICE FIXING IF IT MEANS YOUR HEALTH
The Nabobs were wondering why competition between the few insurers that there are doesn’t lower insurance costs. One would think that skyrocketing prices + competition would be the obvious sign of Price Fixing: the maintaining of prices at a certain level by agreement between competing sellers.
The Nabobs looked into this and discovered that in fact the health insurance companies ARE, in essence, a Price Fixing Cartel. But the health insurance industry in fact ONE OF TWO INDUSTRIES IN THE U.S.A THAT ALLOWS PRICE FIXING. The other industry is baseball. Health care and baseball are exempt from price fixing regulation. But the MSM doesn’t seem want to mention that.