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Dec-03-2008 13:37printcomments

Nurses Reject AHIP Proposal as a 'Marshall Plan for Health Insurers'

As stocks fall, insurance corporations look for backdoor bailout— guaranteed customers and revenue.

California nurses on strike in San Luis Obispo
California nurses on strike in San Luis Obispo, California
Photo by Bonnie King Salem-News.com

(SACRAMENTO) - The nation's largest organization of registered nurses today rejected the new to healthcare reform proposal by America's Health Insurance Plans as a "Marshall Plan for the health insurance industry."

Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the 85,000-member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, blasted the proposal released today by AHIP, the lobbying arm of the insurance industry, which she said amounts to a "massive public bailout of one of the wealthiest private industries in America. Rather than subsidizing these industries through laws mandating Americans purchase their products, we would be better off either letting them fail, or simply taking them over, as we have been forced to do with other obsolete sectors."

DeMoro noted the precarious position of these insurance corporations. CIGNA's stock has fallen by 78 percent, from a 52-week high, while Humana's stock has fallen 68 percent, Aetna's has fallen 67 percent, and UnitedHealth's has fallen 66 percent.

AHIP's plan would require all Americans to have insurance, with increased enforcement at all levels of government to force the currently uninsured to purchase private insurance products. Further, the federal government, not the private insurers, would assume the cost of providing care to the sickest patients, and provide public subsidies for private insurance premiums for low-income individuals and families and many small businesses.

"In sum, it fully privatizes profit while socializing the healthcare risk. The public systems could be bankrupted by their responsibilities to care for the sickest while guaranteeing huge new profit streams for an industry whose eight largest corporations made $16 billion in profits last year alone," DeMoro said.

Further, the plan "is a dismal failure in its inability to effectively reduce costs which are pricing tens of millions of Americans out of access to care and pushing families into bankruptcy due to unpayable medical bills," DeMoro noted.

"The primary cause of skyrocketing costs is the insurance industry itself, a point notably missing from their proposal," DeMoro said. "AHIP proposes to reduce future costs by 30 percent through a dubious program of shifting more risk to individuals, providers and government rather than place any limits on insurance industry price gouging, profiteering, or lavish executive pay packages."

"How ironic for AHIP to call for a 30 percent cut, the same percentage of every healthcare dollar that is sliced off the top for insurance profits and administration, much of the latter devoted to denying care claims for insured patients. There's a much faster, more effective, less bureaucratic way to achieve that 30 percent cut – expand and improve Medicare to cover all Americans and eliminate the insurance industry bureaucracy and control over our health."

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Source: California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee; the largest and fastest-growing association of direct-care RNs in the nation. Learn more at calnurses.org.




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Sallie December 3, 2008 5:09 pm (Pacific time)

Only by eliminating this non-essential middle man, (the insurance companies) and go for a single payer system will we ever get control of our current health care fiasco. The HMO's function is nothing more than an obstacle and gate keeper, that siphons money away from health care services, and they decide who gets care and who doesn't. They provide no valuable service. They are parasites that feed off the sick and vulnerable. Just like the other "too" big to fail companies, HMO's have become bloated, greedy monstrosities, waiting to collapse upon themselves. We the people, do not need them and can no longer afford them. We the citizen, should call Obama and our Congress people and Senators, to demand a single payer system that doesn't include HMO's.

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