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Thread: Blue Cross trying to destroy central plank of Obama's health care reform

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Blue Cross trying to destroy central plank of Obama's health care reform

    One week after the nation's health insurance lobby pledged to President Obama to do what it can to constrain rising health costs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is putting the finishing touches on a public message campaign aimed at killing a key plank in Obama's reform platform.

    As part of what it calls an "informational website," the company has hired an outside PR company to make a series of videos sounding the alarm about a government-sponsored health insurance option, known as the public plan. Obama has consistently maintained that a government-run plan, absent high-paid executives and the need for profits, could be a more affordable option for Americans who have trouble purchasing private insurance. The industry argues that creating a public insurance program will undermine the marketplace and eventually lead to a single-payer style system.

    In three 30-second videos, the insurer paints a picture of a future system in which patients wait months for appointments and can't choose their own doctors, according to storyboards of the videos obtained by the Washington Post.

    One video titled "Waiting" shows a receptionist fielding a request from a patient enrolled in the new program.

    "The government plan. Okay hold on...let me see what's available," the woman says into the telephone. On the screen, with the caller on hold, the receptionist rearranges items on her desk, looks at a wide- open calendar and then fibs: "It looks like the first time we can fit you in is in two-and-a-half months."

    Another spot in the series, being developed by Capstrat media in Raleigh, shows a woman and child wandering down a darkened hospital doorway "as if they're starting to realize that they've lost their way," according to sketches of the video. "We can do a lot better than a government-run health care system," the narrator concludes.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman Lew Borman said the videos are still in the draft stage. On the question of creating a public option to compete with private insurers, he said: "We believe an unchecked government-run plan would lower payment to doctors and hospitals, forcing them to attempt to charge private insurers more and thus further eliminate private insurers' ability to compete against the government."

    On its Web site, Capstrat touts its "agility in turning complex issues into simple, powerful and persuasive stories." Company president Karen Albritton declined to comment.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has 3.7 million members and processed more than $10.7 billion in medical claims last year. Get a first look at the video storyboards here.

    North Carolina's Blue Cross Blue Shield Trying to Kill Key Plank of Obama Plan - Health-Care Reform 2009 - Tracking the National Health-Care Debate
    and the comment on it:

    Well that didn't take long. Wasn't it just last week that the health insurance lobby pledged to work with President Obama to help rein in health care costs, as part of the overall health care reform effort? And now, just seven days later, Blue Cross insurance is going all out to kill a major plank in Obama's health care reform plan.

    You'll recall that Blue Cross is the "insurance" that Joe and I both have. Joe's insurance just went up 25% this year. That's about how much mine has been going up for a few years now as well. As I've written before, funny, but Blue Cross' benefits don't go up that much each year. In fact, Blue Cross caps my prescription drug benefits at the same level they were at 14 years ago. In another decade I should be able to buy a Frappuccino with the value of my Blue Cross prescription drug benefits, after inflation. Blue Cross is the worst. Well, not the worst. They all stink. I remember my friend Michael, who had an HMO at the time, and was working on health care issues on the Hill, being told that he couldn't go to the emergency room, even though he was having trouble seeing in one eye that was scratched and now swelling shut, because all the folks at his HMO were at lunch. Seriously. They told him they were at lunch and he should call back later to see if he would be permitted to go the emergency room.

    I remember how Blue Cross tried to screw my dying Spanish teacher in Chicago, Fernando Mendoza, and then tried to screw his wife after he died.

    I remember how I tried to cut back on my health care expenses by buying drugs online, by buying generics, only to have Blue Cross make the process so impossibly hard, only to have Blue Cross's own staff be so totally incompetent, only to have Blue Cross refuse to let me use my insurance to purchase cheaper drugs online from Costco (supposedly because Blue Cross has a more-costly sweetheart deal with Walgreens).

    Thieves.

    And now Blue Cross is trying to kill the provision of Obama's plan that would give us the option to buy into some kind of public health care program. Why? So they can ensure that all of us still have to pay for their lousy insurance, so they can continue to milk us dry with 25% annual premium increases, so they can continue to let your prescription drug benefits wither away with the years.

    Honestly, the government should look into regulating Blue Cross and its brethren as posing a danger to public health. We ought to be having a debate as to whether the government shuts down Blue Cross, or takes over its management, rather than whether Blue Cross gets the option to kill our only hope at getting real health care.

    One final word. Blue Cross wants to play the socialism card, which is exactly what its new ads are doing sotto voce. They want to suggest that government involvement in health care is bad, like in Europe, as Blue Cross' Republican friends keep telling us? Okay, let's talk about health care in Europe. Let's talk about why France is number one in health care in the world. About how I went to the doctor to check on a chest cold I'd had for six weeks. About how I saw the doctor within 12 hours of requesting the appointment. About how my appointment cost me only 30 bucks. About how she told me I needed a chest X-Ray. About how I was able to make the appointment for the X-Ray four hours from when I called. About how I arrived and they had me in the X-Ray in three minutes after I arrived. About how in 15 minutes the doctor was diagnosing me. About how in 20 minutes, I walked out the door, X-Rays and diagnosis in hand, having paid only 40 euros (50 bucks) or so for the entire thing. About how the chest x-ray in the states would have cost me $400, and certainly wouldn't have happened four hours after I called, and I sure as hell wouldn't be permitted to waltz into the office and get the X-Ray three minutes after arriving.

    Let's talk about how I called Blue Cross to find out if they'd cover my chest X-Ray - this was before I knew it was so cheap, the French doctor told me it was going to be "expensive." I spent almost half an hour on the phone with some idiot at Blue Cross - I was calling her from Paris, mind you - who could not figure out if they would cover my stupid chest X-Ray while I was in France. Nice lady, but a blithering idiot. I finally gave up, after nearly half an hour, and figured I'd take my chances and just pay the bill anyway - better option than getting pneumonia.

    I've been through American health care. I've done my time at Georgetown Hospital (truly a horror show). I'm only 45 years old and I already have enough minor health care problems that Blue Cross cut my prescription coverage off last year at the beginning of November. God forbid if I live another ten, fifteen years. What new ways will Blue Cross find to torture me then?

    America can't afford to have people like Blue Cross deciding if we live or die. Enough is enough. If these pigs are going to try to Harry and Louise health care reform again, then the groups running this battle, and the administration, need to take Blue Cross down. It's time to stop playing nice. It's time to stop doing what Washington politicians and Washington non-profits always do. It's time to play hardball. Blue Cross and its ilk either need to help us pass this legislation, or we need to take them down, hard.

    AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth
    lol having a health care system run by insurance companies is insane
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Gold Member IceQueen's Avatar
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    One final word. Blue Cross wants to play the socialism card, which is exactly what its new ads are doing sotto voce. They want to suggest that government involvement in health care is bad, like in Europe, as Blue Cross' Republican friends keep telling us? Okay, let's talk about health care in Europe. Let's talk about why France is number one in health care in the world. About how I went to the doctor to check on a chest cold I'd had for six weeks. About how I saw the doctor within 12 hours of requesting the appointment. About how my appointment cost me only 30 bucks. About how she told me I needed a chest X-Ray. About how I was able to make the appointment for the X-Ray four hours from when I called. About how I arrived and they had me in the X-Ray in three minutes after I arrived. About how in 15 minutes the doctor was diagnosing me. About how in 20 minutes, I walked out the door, X-Rays and diagnosis in hand, having paid only 40 euros (50 bucks) or so for the entire thing. About how the chest x-ray in the states would have cost me $400, and certainly wouldn't have happened four hours after I called, and I sure as hell wouldn't be permitted to waltz into the office and get the X-Ray three minutes after arriving.
    PFFT.... I can call Kaiser get seen the next day (not wait 6 weeks) then get an xray while I'm there - leave within 2 hours max. Oh, and it costs me all of $15.00 co pay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceQueen View Post
    PFFT.... I can call Kaiser get seen the next day (not wait 6 weeks) then get an xray while I'm there - leave within 2 hours max. Oh, and it costs me all of $15.00 co pay.
    You're not counting your premiums that you pay out of each paycheck (that increase each year), year after year after year...how much does that dr. visit and Xray really cost you, hmmm?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Uh, i can have an x ray done in 5 mins and it costs me nothing.

    Go socialized medicine.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    So what about the tens of millions of people in this country who can't afford any insurance or are denied because prexisting condition B-S? Is there any thought to these people?

    The health insurance industry is one of the biggest frauds in history.

    And we already have a government-run health care system - it's called Medicare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Uh, i can have an x ray done in 5 mins and it costs me nothing.

    Go socialized medicine.
    What are your tax brackets?

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    Elite Member nancydrew's Avatar
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    I dont think tax brackets matter in Canada?
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Not for health care.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quazar View Post
    So what about the tens of millions of people in this country who can't afford any insurance or are denied because prexisting condition B-S? Is there any thought to these people?
    There should be a law against that. Plain and simple.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quazar View Post
    And we already have a government-run health care system - it's called Medicare.
    Yup. Many folks miss out on this fact.

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    I'm not shocked about the health insurance companies trying to cut Obama's plan off at the knees. I'd be shocked if they didn't try to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quazar View Post
    So what about the tens of millions of people in this country who can't afford any insurance or are denied because prexisting condition B-S? Is there any thought to these people?

    The health insurance industry is one of the biggest frauds in history.

    And we already have a government-run health care system - it's called Medicare.
    Exactly. But that's more of that evil 'socialism.'

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    Gold Member IceQueen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    You're not counting your premiums that you pay out of each paycheck (that increase each year), year after year after year...how much does that dr. visit and Xray really cost you, hmmm?
    My company picks up the premiums. Sure, it'd be nice to think that if they didn't cover it - I would get a raise, but that's not going to happen.
    I grew up with military insurance, and Kaiser wasn't much of a difference. I have no problem with Medicare/Medicaid - but I think that if someone can get insurance some other way - they should.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceQueen View Post
    My company picks up the premiums. Sure, it'd be nice to think that if they didn't cover it - I would get a raise, but that's not going to happen.
    I grew up with military insurance, and Kaiser wasn't much of a difference. I have no problem with Medicare/Medicaid - but I think that if someone can get insurance some other way - they should.

    DH's company pays for part of the premiums, we pay for part. We pay almost $400/mo just for our part for medical for the family. Dental is another $25/mo. If your company pays 100% of the premiums, you are lucky indeed because I believe the amount we pay is pretty standard even for employer-provided benefits.

    Re Canada: Don't tax dollars pay for medical benefits? That's why I asked what your tax brackets/rates are. I wanted to see how your federal taxes compare to the U.S.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    We obviously pay higher taxes given that's where the money for the system comes from.. BUT... medical providers, pharma and otherwise do not decide what the costs are. That's the real clincher here. Your health care system is run by for profit private enterprise. Of course it's going to cost an arm and a leg.. they want to make PROFITS
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quazar View Post
    So what about the tens of millions of people in this country who can't afford any insurance or are denied because prexisting condition B-S? Is there any thought to these people?

    The health insurance industry is one of the biggest frauds in history.

    And we already have a government-run health care system - it's called Medicare.
    Try to go get you some of that while working.
    You have to be a dead beat to actually qualify.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    We obviously pay higher taxes given that's where the money for the system comes from.. BUT... medical providers, pharma and otherwise do not decide what the costs are. That's the real clincher here. Your health care system is run by for profit private enterprise. Of course it's going to cost an arm and a leg.. they want to make PROFITS
    So since doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in Canada are under government contract, don't they make substantially less than if they were to work for private profit-based companies? And if so, is there a problem attracting the best of the best to these jobs?

    When I was in the AP (Advanced Placement) classes in high school, one of my teachers was always trying to talk her students into going into teaching because she said because of the low salaries (compared to other professional jobs), "the best and the brightest" did not typically want to go into teaching, they wanted jobs where they would be paid more, so they tend toward other professional careers.

    So is it more likely that you have doctors in Canada that made C's in med school or went to med school in the Bahamas?

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