I learned a long time ago that when dealing with Republicans like Kelly’s friend and occasional sparring partner, LilMike, that you have to look at the big picture when a source is cited. He often takes topics into directions unheard of while ignoring the issues at hand. Skewing facts to make a point is obviously an inherent trait of Republicans and LilMike uses it well. Which is why I like to check sources for the sources.
More times than not, that source is about as crooked as Tricky Dick and is often a well-disguised sounding board for all things right-wing.
In today’s edition of the Howey Truth Squad, I’ll be tackling an innocuous little editorial from Investor’s Business Daily, one that taken at first glance would lead us to believe health care reform isn’t all that.
Let’s start with this part of the editorial:
The nonpartisan Lewin Group estimated in April that 120 million or more Americans could lose their group coverage at work and end up in such a program. That would leave private carriers with 50 million or fewer customers. This could cause the market to, as Lewin Vice President John Sheils put it, “fizzle out altogether.”
Hello? Lewin Group?
This Lewin Group????
In the Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman, president of AHCJ’s board of directors, scolded journalists for not mentioning that Lewin Group, the consultants who released a recent study claiming that a public insurance option would cost doctors and hospitals money, is ultimately part of a major insurance company.
(Lewin Group is) part of Ingenix, which is owned by United Healthcare Group, the insurance behemoth that has been buying up insurance companies left and right, expanding its reach into just about every segment of the health-insurance market. Its flagship, UnitedHealthcare, helps make it the largest health insurer in the country.
It’s a safe bet that United is not too keen on a public plan that might shrink its business. The relationship is disclosed in the study and Lieberman turned up evidence indicating that there may be no formal protections in place for Lewin Group’s editorial independence.
She wondered why journalists, particularly those behind a widely used AP story, did not provide readers with any information or context on Lewin’s insurance industry ties and called on reporters to remedy their error next time Lewin Group comes up.
Wait. Did that say United Healthcare Group?
This United Healthcare Group????
Most people don’t trust health insurance companies and with good reason. They are a powerful industry that is not easily prodded, pushed or intimidated into doing the right thing by their members. Insurance companies routinely abuse the trust of patients and providers alike.
A new report by Health Care for America Now outlines the habitual abuses perpetrated by health insurance companies, including leaving patients with high out-of-pocket costs, denying coverage for medically necessary care, preventing doctors from delivering care they feel is best for their patients, and unduly delaying reimbursement to patients and providers.
The report demonstrates how health insurance companies repeat the same abuses over and over again, despite being reprimanded and fined by state insurance agencies. For example, the report notes how the Texas Department of Insurance has fined United Healthcare millions of dollars for violating the state’s prompt payment law. The 2007 fine, $4.4 million dollars, was “the second time in two years and the fourth time since 2001 that Texas fined United Healthcare for the same type of violation.”
But Texas is not the only state where United Healthcare has perpetrated that particular abuse. The report also gives examples of similar fines being levied in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Insurance companies are clearly not intimidated by state regulators. These companies seem to consider the fines they incur just the cost of doing business.
How much money must they be saving by breaking prompt payment laws if they are willing to keep violating the law over and over again?
It’s really simple. President Obama is not out to socialize our country. He’s not out to turn us all into card-carrying Zombies. He doesn’t want to destroy our country. Regardless of what the Republican Doomsayers want you to think. Do we really want to listen to the same folks who sent us to Iraq…the same folks who destroyed our economy…the same folks who took the reputation of our Presidency and country and flushed it down the drain?
Let the President and Congress do their job. Isn’t that refreshing after what we were put through the past eight years?