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AHIP is guaranteeing huge premium increases.

And the AHIP warnings reached a crescendo today, after the Obama announcement.

The announcement by President Obama, that there will be a one year reprieve so people can keep their low cost junk insurance, will result in a huge spike in premiums in 2015.

We've been warned.

The young and healthy are the largest cohort holding these junk plans.  This is the cohort the insurance industry covets most and is counting on to join the Exchange risk pool in big numbers.

Without the young healthy bodies, the risk pool will be the old and sick.  We are now moving into the dangerous situation of adverse selection which will cause the death spiral.   Insurers based  rates on the assumption that the individual mandate would be implemented, that everyone would be buying, young and old, healthy and sick, so allowing people to keep the junk insurance they already have, even for only one year would invalidate the 2015 premiums that already have been structured.

The collapse of the web site means that all but the most determined enrollees are walking away in disgust. So who is going back repeatedly to attempt to enroll? Who do you think?  The sicker and older population. So the Web site's problems are leading to a sicker, older risk pool, with few young and healthy. Makes sense.

Insurers are also opposed for extending open enrollment because that too would impact profits. They have set their 2015 premiums with the understanding that open enrollment would end on March 31st. If open enrollment were to be extended, once again, who would delay enrolling? The young and healthy.

There is no getting around the reality that the US healthcare system rests fully, totally and unequivocally on generating profits for all the Wall Street stakeholders.  And because of this, our healthcare system is based on a foundation of sand.  It is unsustainable.

Aetna (AET) Chief Executive Mark Bertolini defended his company's participation in ObamaCare public exchanges in 17 states as "a risk worth taking," but worried that technical glitches in the federal government's website would keep younger, healthy people from enrolling.

"The younger healthy people are not going to give (enrollment sites) more than one shot so it could mean adverse selection in 2014," Bertolini said during a conference call Tuesday after the release of the firm's third-quarter results.

The discussion we need to have, which is not happening, is that we have allowed the politicians to entrust our entire health care system to a simply unsustainable notion: that profits for all the players can and must be front and center and the overriding priority.  We are seeing this play out in real time before our eyes.

We have the most expensive system in the world, but rank very low in terms of outcomes and mortality and morbidity. Every other industrialized nation regulates to one extent or another, drugs, medical devices, physician fees, hospital costs, but not the United States. And then on top of this, we turn over the entire system to a parasitic industry hell bent on securing profits over the health needs of the nation.

The death spiral, coming to a city near you

New York State which I'm proud to say has more robust consumer protections than the ACA and pure guaranteed issue and community rating, is the classic case of the death spiral.

In New York in the thoroughly broken individual market, everyone pays the same premium for the same health plan.  So what's happened?  Well it has shrunk to a tiny pool of the sickest people who are paying among the highest premiums in the nation. There are few if any young and healthy. Why would a 26 year old pay the same amount as a 60 year old with heart disease?   This is what happens when the risk pool is not properly configured.  And I fear this is what we are facing now with Obamacare.

The death spiral is when the risk pool is comprised of an older and sicker population, this is what we, as a nation are facing. What you're seeing unfold with the roll out of the ACA are not garden variety speed bumps.  This is the unraveling of the fundamental premise of the Affordable Care Act--a vastly increased risk pool in the utterly broken individual market. It was expected that all the new young and healthy bodies would mitigate the cost, to some extent, of all those desperate Americans the for-profit insurance industry had refused for generations to insure due to pre-existing conditions. But now, it is believed, they will remain with their cheap (not worth the paper its printed on), junk insurance, so the risk pools will be filled with old  and sick folks. This is the death spiral writ large.

A word on Micro networks, controlling costs and the new Exchanges

One way insurers are keeping the costs of premiums somewhere within the realm of reasonable (and I use this word with great hesitancy), is by vastly limiting the provider networks. These small networks are being called "micro networks".

Let the buyer beware.

When and if you get on the Exchange and start to browse around, beware of what you're buying.  You may think all Unitedhealthcare policies are created equal, but you would be very wrong to think anything like that. Insurers are controlling costs by offering very tightly defined networks of providers, hospitals, etc.

 I've noted on the New York Exchange for example,  that most, though not all (if you're able to pay a huge monthly premium) networks of doctors and hospitals are very limited and would not allow you to get care at say, Memorial Sloan Kettering or MD Anderson or Mayo, if God forbid you received a cancer diagnosis.

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UPDATE:

JUST POSTED ON N.Y. HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE:


Attention:


Due to overwhelming interest in the NY State of Health - including 2 million visits in the first 2 hours of the site launch - the health exchange is currently having log in issues. We encourage users who are unable to log in to come back to the site later when these issues will be resolved.

The crawl at the top of the Colorado Exchange tells a similar story, the support is overwhelming.

This is huge evidence that the American people are coming out in an unprecedented show of support for ObamaCare.

Yes, some (though not all, by any means) of the exchanges seem to be a bit bollixed up this morning.

Yes, the "glitches" we have been hearing about have happened.

This is because Americans have come out in unprecedented numbers to support Obamacare and begin the enrollment process.
Web sites crash when they are overwhelmed with online traffic.

Be patient.  This is actually very good news.

The Republican deadenders (and that's all of them), in their depraved and desperate final attempt to crush our president and the Affordable Care Act, will spin this as another government fiasco. This is not so.  What we are witnessing  is a crush of Americans eager, ready, pumped to enroll in Obamacare. This is called pent up demand!

The New York Exchange is not working. I'm disappointed, but I'll keep trying.

All this is happening because these online marketplaces are overwhelmed with Americans attempting to access healthcare, a right that has long been denied.

My hunch is that one reason the exchanges are so overwhelmed is because people are fearful that if they don't enroll immediately and God forbid the Rethuglicans extract anything from the president and the Democrats, they will not get the healthcare they have been long promised.

It's very important, dear friends, that you record in this diary your experiences on the exchange in your state. It's important that the media report this accurately.

The exchanges are experiencing some growing pains because there is a tidal wave of American humanity, chomping at the bit to enroll and finally, at long last gain access to healthcare.

Discuss

There are several huge inherent problems with high deductible junk insurance.

High deductible insurance shifts what is called first dollar coverage from the insurer to the consumer.  This is why it is often called "consumer directed" health insurance. The atrocious theory is that if the consumer is required to pay the first dollar of healthcare costs due to the large deductible, we will think long and hard before accessing medical care, hence this will tend to lower or bend the cost curve.

It seems consumers are not the only ones experiencing problems with high deductible health care.

People get sick or injured, and they have to use their high deductible coverage, and in the process of doing so, discover the insurance leaves them with huge bills.  This is why so many call it, "insurance in name only".

Providers and hospitals are having very significant problems of their own, dealing with this very defective product.

Here's a very interesting exchange from the recent Tenet Healthcare Corp. conference call with Wall Street analysts.

The system is cannibalizing itself. As insurers raise premiums, consumers are herded to high deductible insurance, which then results in unpaid bills to healthcare providers. An endless cycle of debt, collections, more debt, then bankruptcy.

And most worrisome to Wall Street, reduced profits. Most Americans saddled with medical debt will tell you, "you can't get blood from a stone".

Andrew Schenker - Morgan Stanley:

 If I might just slip one more in here, change the directions a little bit. You mentioned you expect a benefit from the removal of annual and lifetime caps. I was wondering if you could kind of walk us through the trends in bad debt related co-pays and deductibles today and maybe how you think that might change for exchange products given kind of the known actual values of the different middle tiers

Trevor Fetter - President and CEO Tenet Healthcare Corp
: Yes, Steve, go ahead – or Dan, sorry.

Daniel J. Cancelmi - CFO Tenet Healthcare:

 I'll handle this one, Andrew. There has been an uptick, obviously, in the level of accounts that Conifer is processing related to high-deductible plans. We've seen that building over the past several years, and it's continued into 2013 as well. Now I might add that Steve and his team are doing a very good managing our bad debt levels and in keeping them relatively stable. And in fact, in certain cases, there's been some slight improvement in our collection rate. So we're pleased with that. But obviously, the number of accounts that we're seeing that relate to these high-deductible plans has been building, and it has been putting pressure on our bad debt levels.

Conifer Health Solution does what is called revenue cycle management for Tenet and many other healthcare systems.  

These are the folks that send you letters when you fail to pay your medical bills. Then, when the initial round of letters go in the garbage, this is the company that refers your account to collection.

When you burrow deep into the Wall Street, for-profit end of healthcare, as I do periodically, you see how every single encounter Americans endure with our system, is before anything else, a medical/healthcare sales pitch to generate revenue. There are plenty of good people, doctors, nurses etc. working in the healthcare trenches, who struggle to provide excellent care in an environment all too often inhospitable to those following the most righteous calling of their profession.

Stephen Mooney - President, Conifer Health Solutions:

We've seen this is being continuing trend for, like, actually a few years now as a continuing uptick of the larger co-pays on our balance – (we got our) balance after insurance side of that, and so that continues, although we're obviously deploying more strategies to counter that. But also to realize, the ACA also includes some subsidies for cost sharing as well. So that's a big thing which we think is going to have an impact as it goes forward.

Trevor Fetter - President and CEO:

When we talk about, we're excited about next year, we keep referencing this on calls, but it's some of these more arcane details about the way that insurance plans are structured, the subsidies, the cost-sharing, these various attempts to get out of this pervasive issue of shifting more and more of the burden onto individuals which ultimately just shifts it onto hospitals. So it's one of the things that we're – a big area that we are well-prepared for, and particularly enthusiastic about for 2014.

If you care to read the entire transcript, you'll see that every single encounter any of us have with the healthcare system has a huge $$$ sign attached to it.
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Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader told Nevada PBS yesterday that Obamacare was "absolutely a first step toward single payer.

If anyone can get a link and put it up on You Tube, I'll embed it right here ASAP.

Here's what seems to be a non-functioning like to Nevada PBS.

From Forbes:

Well, yesterday on PBS’ Nevada Week In Review, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was asked whether his goal was to move Obamacare to a single-payer system. His answer? “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
It seems Senator Reid was quite unequivocal, and he should be thanked for finally coming over from the dark side.
   Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”

    “What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

    When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

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The right wing, led by the moral reprobates at Freedom Works are determined to sabotage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act.  They are targeting 18- 34 year olds, the cohort most critical to the success of the ACA.

Fox News, we are being told in an excellent diary by Jon Perr is, as usual, substituting lies and distortion for fact.

As President Obama said yesterday at his news conference, there are 53 days left before the Health Insurance Exchanges open on October 1st. I'm reminding today myself why progressives, that means you and I,  must organize to fight any effort to  defund, destroy or otherwise tamper with Obamacare. The ACA is light years away from perfection, but it's what we have--today. It will assist many good, hard working Americans who are in desperate need of help

Powerful unions like National Nurses United and other progressive organizations are going to beat the drum--loudly, and remind Americans that those politicians who seek to defund Obamacare are the people who give themselves the best healthcare.

If you listen to these videos which I made during my visits to Free Health Clinics in 2009 during the height of the healthcare fight, it seems to me, you come to only one conclusion, Obamacare is for the 99%.

The people here describe the barbaric depravity of American healthcare that we hope and expect will go away come January 1st. It is sobering to listen to these fine people describe the toxic waste dump of the pre-Obamacare U.S. healthcare system.

 Most of all, we hope that more people like Karen Black will not die because they don't have funds for treatment.

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I am rooting for Obamacare to succeed. That does not mean we should abandon single payer.

I'm not a single payer nihilist, though there are plenty of people who believe the road to single payer runs through the failure of Obamacare--I'm not one of them.

I know better than most having attended numerous free health clinics around the country that countless millions of Americans will benefit to one extent or another from the Affordable Care Act.

Americans are already benefiting. There are required preventative services at no cost sharing.  Young people can stay on their parent health plans until age 26.

And yes, the dreaded pre-existing condition barbarism, will vanish from the face of the earth on January 1, 2014.

And many sick Americans will get help thanks to the ACA.

This is all the good stuff.

The bad is the United States remains the most expensive health system on the planet with outcomes far below many other nations.

Another reason I want Obamacare to succeed is because economists I admire like Dean Baker say that without the cost savings the ACA hopes to achieve, our healthcare costs will destroy this country.

Take a look at Baker's health care calculator--it's scary.

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Quick disclaimer.

I am a fierce champion of single payer. I am on the board of California OneCare, one of the most active single payer organizations in California. But right now, we are several heartbeats away from the opening of the health insurance exchanges. So let's take a real world look at what we might expect.

Take a deep breath and continue reading.

The task facing the administration is Herculean,  quite literally changing the psyche of the American people. American have long accepted that in this country healthcare is a privilege reserved to the affluent and those still with employer provided insurance. We're now being told, throw away those beliefs the future is here, and the future belongs to those who buy for-profit private insurance.

We've segued from each man/woman for herself, to we're all in this together.

The biggest and most critical hurdle is to sell the young 18-34 year old cohort on the need for them to enroll. Without this group of Americans, which the Administration estimates is around 2.7 million strong, the exchanges will implode due to a phenomenon called adverse selection.

Enroll America

Despite my grave reservations and deep concern about the implementation of Obamacare, I would urge anyone who can lend a hand, to go to the web site of Enroll America and do whatever you can, to help get young people happily enrolled.  Without their participation, We. Are. Toast.

As Robert Pear wrote yesterday in the New York Times,"For Obamacare to Work, Everyone Must Be In". And the sine qua non of the ACA are the young invincibles who must be persuaded to enroll.

So struggling Americans, still reeling from the 2008 crisis, are being asked/required to accept the for-profit insurance industry, and pay staggering premiums and deductibles, just to get a foot in the door to the most expensive, but far from the best healthcare system in the world. We are being told that the barbaric belief system which continues to be embraced by tens of millions, that healthcare is only for those who can pay, is all wrong, and a new day has arrived.

 photo NYTPriceComp.png

Up until now, healthcare in the United States has been a privilege. Some would argue, and I would agree, that even with the new day we are all awaiting, healthcare will remain a privilege and as many of us have long feared, many/most of us who will comply with the law, will have insurance in name only.

What do we mean by insurance in name only?

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 Along with the 2011 Romney tax returns, Romney/Ryan released some health information.

So while they go around the country railing about repealing Obamacare, keep in mind what Paul Ryan considers sacred for himself--government, taxpayer subsidized health care.

Paul Ryan is taker not a maker, and a card carrying member of Mitt's mooching 47%.

Who pays for Paul's healthcare?  Who pays for The Office of the Attending Physician. We do, the taxpayers.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Discuss

Representative Dave Camp   was just diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Dave Camp is a leader in the Republican Party, the Chairman of the House ways and Means Committee. Dave is committed, like all his Republican brethren, to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Camp also said the plan to repeal ObamaCare is a pressing priority for his committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and over Obama’s health care rationing czar, CMS Director Donald Berwick.

“We are still on a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  We want to repeal ObamaCare in full.  That’s going to be one of the signature items that we [will] work on.  It increases health care costs.  It creates this huge government bureaucracy.  It’s going to cause people to lose the health care that they know and like.  There are lots of problems with it,” Camp said.

“We can move toward defunding parts of it if for some reason the repeal fails.  We will also work to repeal parts of it if the full repeal doesn’t work, but the focus remains on trying to repeal the whole thing, because it’s not sustainable the way it is, and we need to make a change there,” he said.

Dave will get the best treatment for his illness that money can provide.  He and his doctors expect he will make a full recovery.  He has the FEHBP government provided, taxpayer subsidized Rolls Royce health insurance.

Probably Dave and his family members did what most people do when they receive a devastating diagnosis. They took a deep breath, they prayed, and then thanked God, the American taxpayers, and the baby Jesus they have five star government health insurance.

Keep in mind, the policy Dave and all members of Congress have begins with the word "Federal"--the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan.  This is run right out of the much loathed Washington DC. It is administered by a Federal agency--the US Office of Personnel Management. I have no doubt that Dave loves his government health plan.

At the 2010 White House Summit on health reform, Dave was very outspoken about what people with pre-exisiting conditions should do.  

He really said this, folks. Does anyone think Dave would want to give up his federal insurance and fend for himself in the state run Michigan high risk pool?

CAMP:

Thank you very much. On the issue of insurance reform and pre-existing conditions, there are responsible ways to solve this problem and reduce the cost of health insurance for everyone.

And we support state universal access programs that address high- risk pools and reinsurance, that makes affordable coverage available to those who are sick and those who have a pre-existing condition.

45,000 Americans are not as lucky as Dave. Every year these Americans die simply because they don't have health insurance.

So the next time you see the Republican leadership or Mitt Romney railing about repealing "Obamacare", remember one their own is quite ill, and will likely survive because he has the government insurance, he and his ilk seek to deny the rest of us.

Let's all wish Mr. Camp a speedy recovery. Maybe as he embarks on this journey of cancer treatment, he'll meet fellow citizens not as lucky as he is, facing financial ruin and a grim future because they too have cancer but no insurance .

Discuss

Well, it looks like the broken, collapsed and shameful American "healthcare" system has even crawled up the ass of elite Olympic athletes.

Highmark is a proud official Olympic supplier. Highmark even produced Olympic athlete testimonial videos which you can watch here. But like just like so much in our country, what you quite literally see, is not exactly what you get.

I tried to find out how much Highmark pays the USOC for the right to be called a "supplier", if any great sleuths can find that information, please let us know.

Given out-of-control healthcare costs in the U.S. healthcare system, when you begin to see Highmark advertising during the Olympics, keep in mind, this is money being taken from health insurance premiums to market their odious and defective product.

This information about elite U.S. athletes and the gauntlet they run in attempting to obtain health insurance, is quite shocking to read, coming on the heels of the  London 2012 opening ceremony celebration of Britain's revered NHS.

Thanks to Kaiser Health News, we have a little peek into this seedy side of life American Olympic athletes face in obtaining health insurance, and the quality of the insurance they receive.

The Kaiser article makes clear, that no one who knows anything (Highmark and the United States Olympic Committee) wants to talk about this under-reported American reality. What exactly are the benefits these athletes are paying for? As Americans who battle these insurance companies every day over denied care, and delayed claims payment, we know the athletes are paying a lot for very little. There is no doubt, they are being gouged, just like the rest of us.

Of course, if the United States had universal healthcare, as the rest of the industrialized world has, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

"It's a similar plan with similar benefits to those people might have through an employer," said Steven Nelson, a senior vice president with Highmark. PPO Blue is also available on the individual market.

Nelson would not provide specific details about the USOC health plan, which offers preventive services and other benefits, both in the U.S. and overseas. Nelson did say that the committee can tailor its plan to the demands of athletes, such as physical therapy benefits. The USOC also did not provide comment on plan specifics.

Got that? USOC news blackout on "plan specifics". But Kaiser does report that the  U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, has a EAHI plan with a $25,000 deductible for sports injuries.

Highmark proudly self identifies as an official Olympic supplier, because it is the provider of a very defective high deductible junk insurance product for a few Olympic athletes who pass muster and qualify for their largesse.

Highmark provides something calledELITE ATHLETE HEALTH INSURANCE (EAHI), each team gets a certain number of slots. What happens if the team has utilized all its slots and an athlete requires coverage--I don't have a clue.

As stated, on sports related injuries the plan has a $25,000 deductible. Access is denied  to the Snowboard Association link which evidently refers to the $25,000 deductible. If anyone can get that page, please let us know, and email it to Christian Torres CTorres@kff.org, the Kaiser reporter.

EAHI also has a $25,000 deductible for sports injuries, according to recent plan information from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. The large deductible and athletes’ high risk of injury may drive them toward other insurance options.
The 2012 Badminton Team was given Five (5) slots.
2012 ELITE ATHLETE HEALTH INSURANCE (EAHI)

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Elite Athlete Health Insurance Program (EAHI) provides a level of base support by offering a program of health and major medical insurance for designated Elite Athletes in order to minimize the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by insured athletes for costs of medical care.

USA Badminton receives from the USOC a guaranteed number of EAHI slots to distribute to its Elite Athletes.  Distribution of these EAHI slots is based on the following criteria (see below) approved by the USOC.  

A. Number of EAHI slots allocated: 5

B. Eligibility and Criteria Approved for EAHI:

    Only U.S. Citizens are eligible for EAHI.
     Up to 5 athletes will be offered EAHI based on the following prioritized order below. In order to be eligible athletes must be currently training and competing in international competitions and have a current Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Ranking for the United States.
    The following prioritized order will be applied May 3rd, 2012 allowing athletes to be offered and enrolled in EAHI on June 1st, 2012. Enrollment is dependent on the timely submission of necessary paperwork:

1. Priority will be given to all 2012 Olympic Team Members (OTM). If more athletes qualify for the OTM than EAHI slots available, the EAHI slots will be offered to the OTM with the highest BWF World-Ranking as of May 3, 2012.

2. If EAHI slots are still available, the second priority will be given to athletes according to the highest BWF World-Ranking as of May 3, 2012. Athletes must have a ranking of 125 or better to be eligible.
 3. If an EAHI slot is offered to a doubles team and one of the team members declines or already has been offered an EAHI slot, his/her partner will still be offered an EAHI slot.

4. If only one slot is available at any time during the process then the next highest BWF ranked Men’s or Women’s singles player based on the BWF World Ranking on May 3rd 2012 will be offered the slot. Athletes must have a ranking of 125 or better to be eligible.

Take a look at the lengthy eligibility requirements posted by the Canoe and Kayak Team for the EAHI insurance.

It looks like it more difficult to get insurance than to make the team!

So as you’re watching the best athletes from the United States and the rest of the world, keep in mind that while they may be capable of superhuman feats, American athletes, unlike most of their counterparts, struggle to find affordable health insurance and health care, just like the rest of us.

Discuss

Here's the take home message, the money quote, if you will, of this important new Commonwealth Fund study.

The experiences of people covered by Medicare and those with private employer insurance can help inform policy debates over the federal budget deficit, Medicare’s affordability, and the expansion of private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. This article provides evidence that people with employer-sponsored coverage were more likely than Medicare beneficiaries to forgo needed care, experience access problems due to cost, encounter medical bill problems, and be less satisfied with their coverage. Within the subset of beneficiaries who are age sixty-five or older, those enrolled in the private Medicare Advantage program were less likely than those in traditional Medicare to have premiums and out-of-pocket costs exceed 10 percent of their income. But they were also more likely than those in traditional Medicare to rate their insurance poorly and to report cost-related access problems. These results suggest that policy options to shift Medicare beneficiaries into private insurance would need to be attentive to potentially negative insurance experiences, problems obtaining needed care, and difficulties paying medical bills.
Here's a link to the full report in the journal Health Affairs.

Let me add something personal.  Have you ever been with a Medicare recipient at a medical visit?  I have. I often take my elderly mother to her appointments.  It is a very different experience from what the rest of us endure with our very defective private insurance.

My mother has traditional Medicare, and yes, she is blessed to be able to afford a Medigap policy. I recognize MediGap is a luxury few Americans are able to afford.  But even if she didn't have MediGap coverage, she goes in and out of a doctor's office without anyone demanding a co-pay, a credit card, cash, or telling her she hasn't met a deductible.

All Americans should be entitled to this.

There is talk of adding co-pays, deductibles and all manner of means testing to Medicare, this would be unacceptable and unthinkable.

Medicare is not free, not by a long shot, there is a significant monthly premium deducted from the Social Security payment, the premium is a fraction of what we pay for private junk insurance.

And most important, the costs of administering the Medicare program are a fraction of the costs associated with private, for-profit insurance, which devours a huge amount of every premium dollar on profits for Wall Street, sales, marketing and administration of their very defective product. Just think of the number of hours you spend on the phone fighting for a claim to be paid.

Imagine for a moment, life without Medicare.  Medicare is a single-payer program that covers every senior, and though it doesn't pay for every last procedure, because of Medicare's universality, there are essentially no uninsured seniors in America.  American seniors are not subject to the grotesque mercies of the for-profit insurance industry. You don't hear very often of seniors being denied coverage.  Seniors do not need to worry about their pre-existing conditions or their lifetime limits, co-pays, co insurance, deductibles and all the other indignities those of us still able to pay for private insurance face.  As I said, imagine life without Medicare for your mother, father, grandmother or grandfather.

And let me leave you with what I consider to be a truly frightening report from Families USA breaking down the crisis of pre-existing conditions state by state. As most of you know, in 2014, if Obama is re-elected, insurers will no longer be permitted to turn you down simply because you need medical care. In this country, we consider this bold new paradigm to be a radical change.  It is a radical change in our country because, for those under 65, Americans have for-profit healthcare, a system which no other industrialized nation would tolerate.

Our heathcare costs are the highest in the world (though we have 50 million uninsured) and our outcomes are shameful.  All of this is a subject for many other diaries which will follow in the coming days, weeks and months.

Discuss

This has got to be one of the most heartbreaking diaries I've ever written.

This is an only-in-America situation, which in my opinion, has not been properly covered by the media. We've heard about Caleb Medley the comedian shot in the face and his pregnant wife, who gave birth to a baby yesterday.

But we haven't heard nearly enough about the financial plight Caleb and his family are facing. Caleb is an uninsured American.

Only in America do you get shot with an assault weapon, then have to set up a web site to raise money to pay your medical bills.

You need only do a tiny bit of research, as I did, to immediately recognize that uninsured crime victims across the United States frequently become victims of our collapsed healthcare system as well. They must contend with huge medical bills as well as their own emotional and physical recovery. Take a look at this.

Anderson Cooper,  how about you take a deep breath, and use "Keeping them Honest", to report on what American victims of gun violence face in a country where 50 million are uninsured.

Compare the story of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords--who has Rolls Royce FEHBP insurance--and could focus on recovering, not medical bills, to that of Caleb Medley. How about digging a little deeper into this cruel aspect of the Caleb Medley story--the financial ruin end of things? It would shock the world, wouldn't it? It might even keep the politicians responsible for this barbaric state of affairs, shamelessly shedding crocodile tears on national teevee just a little honest.

You can contact Anderson here, if you want him to do his damn job and discuss what happens to victims of gun violence in this nation where healthcare is denied to fifty million of our fellow citizens.

Upper West wrote about this grotesque situation yesterday, and again today, it needs much more attention.

As the world grieves for these victims and their families, those victims without health insurance are facing financial ruin from staggering medical bills.

With the wall-to-wall media coverage, I haven't seen reporting besides this video on CBS, on the second catastrophe bearing down on these beleaguered families--financial ruin for those shot and uninsured.

If you think the American people need to know more about this under-reported part of the Aurora shootings, let some of the folks doing the reporting know, you want the truth to come out.

You can Tweet these people and tell them to report on what happens after you get shot with an assault weapon in the USA--in many cases, financial ruin--and bake sales.

I would use the hashtags #calebmedley #singlepayer

@andersoncooper

@edshow

@AC360

@maddow

Discuss
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