Archive for February 24th, 2010

by jhwygirl

You simply couldn’t even write this into a movie, unless it was some sort of sick comedy. No one would believe it.

Against the backdrop of a renewed call for health reform WellPoint/Anthem Blue Cross, based in Indiana, and a provider of health insurance in 14 states with 34 million customers – 8 million of them in California alone – has announced significant rate increases across 8 states.

WellPoint/Anthem Blue Cross earned $4.7 billion on $60 billion in sales last year.

The announced planned rate hikes as high as 39 percent in California and 34 percent in Indiana. Internal memos project an addition 7% profit in 2010 as a result of this newest rate increase.

What else do they show?:

WellPoint Inc.’s internal documents show the health insurer sought to raise rates in California to boost company profits and cover costs ballooned by executive salaries and corporate retreats, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman said.

Gutsy, huh?

Congress wasn’t too happy.

How much has WellPoint spend on lobbying?:

The largest spender among the insurance companies though was Wellpoint. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., the company spent about 4.7 million in 2009 on lobbying, 21 percent more than its K Street expenditures in 2008.

They also acquired a larger share of the California market (translate: decreased competition) by purchase of Blue Cross of California – by having its very own consumers pay for it in the form of higher premiums – and have continued, now, to increase profits at the cost of cutting services and raising rates. Not only that, they continue to siphon billions off of Blue Cross CA to other Anthem subsidiaries for “unspecified services.”

A White House report on Feb. 18 highlighted additional health premium increases last year in other places like Michigan, Connecticut and Maine that it said were five to 10 times higher than the growth rate in national health spending. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., the top U.S. health plans, were trying to preserve executive pay and profits “way over anybody’s estimates.”

~~~~~
There’s a group out there working on 1,000,000 calls to congress between today and tomorrow. If you aren’t incline to do that, maybe take a couple of links in this article and send it Baucus’, Tester’s and Rehberg’s way. Let ’em know your watching.

I will say – sometimes it can be fun to get a staffer up on the phone. Especially Rehberg’s, because you know they love taking calls on health reform.

Do remember – Always be nice.

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by jhwygirl

Eight Democratic Senators can’t come to term with the facts that too much CO2 can kill you. That it’s unhealthy and dirty and increasing levels are killing us.

Montana Senator Max Baucus is on that list.

And yeah, you can darn well bet there’s a bevy of Republicans there too.

Over a year ago, the EPA came down with a ruling that CO2 should not be exempted in Clean Air Act review related to coal-fired plants. Conveniently, it has done so for….ever.

When you think about it, that’s probably why it isn’t clean…there’s been absolutely no incentive to clean the stuff.

I won’t harp any further on coal. It’s even getting old for a tenacious curmudgeon like me, so I’ll give it a rest (wherein I hear a “whew” from way beyond the hills.)

Here’s what those eight U.S. senators are trying to tell the EPA: “Yeah – of course there’s the Clean Air Act…and I know you have to regulate for it. It’s just that to regulate carbon, well, that’s a problem. So we want you to exempt carbon from that regulation.”

Translate: We want you to do what we want you to do. Clean Air Act? What’s that?

~~~~~
When will we have an America like this. Where we have the vision for the unseen? The guts to go for the dream? To be great?

{sigh}




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