Andrew Taylor

Well written editorials from a UH student

California’s REAL Death Panels, Big insurance Providers

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The situation in California is horrendous and rapidly worsening.

The Golden State is plagued with bankruptcy, wildfires and health care problems. California’s health care nightmares serve as a supporting reason for health care overhaul.

Insurance companies operating in California are denying coverage to patients at alarming rates, resulting in deadly outcomes.

According to the California Nurses Association (CNA) and National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), large private insurers are denying more than 21 percent of claims. Even with a physician’s order, FDA approval or dire need, many medical procedures are not granted due to insurance companies’ unwillingness to help.

Registered Nurse and CNA/NNOC Co-President Deborah Burger acknowledges the need for an overhaul of our health care system.

“With all the dishonest claims made by some politicians about alleged ‘death panels’ in proposed national legislation, the reality for patients today is a daily, cold-hearted rejection of desperately needed medical care by the nation’s biggest and wealthiest insurance companies simply because they don’t want to pay for it,” Burger said in a CNA/NNOC press release.

Many Americans who have evaded this problem are unaware of its severity. For thousands of others, this is not the case.

According to research conducted by the CNA and NNOC, chilling numbers for the first half of 2009 show the harsh reality. Of California’s leading insurers, Pacificare denied 39.6 percent of claims, Cigna 32.7 percent, Healthnet 30 percent, Kaiser Permanente 28.3 percent, Blue Cross 27.9 percent and Aetna 6.4 percent.

These outrageous figures not only serve as a call for action, but also as reminders of pain and suffering. One cannot be surprised that the driving cause behind this absurdity is the irrational greed for profit.

According to a CNA press release, “rejection of care is a very lucrative business for the insurance giants. The top 18 insurance giants racked up $15.9 billion in profits last year.”

If claim denials are roughly a $16 billion industry for health insurance providers, one can expect they are spending a few billion to lobby against an overhaul.

“The routine denial of care by private insurers is like the elephant in the room no one in the present national healthcare debate seems to want to talk about,” Burger said.

Taking to much time to overhaul health care or hiding the issue will continue to impede humane legal progress and growth as well as human productivity.

Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com

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Written by aktaylor

September 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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