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"Big Insurance: Sick of It" – National Day of Protest Today

Posted Sep 23 2009 10:25pm

Blue Cross appears to be the poster child with today’s activities, but they are not the only company targeted today, others such as Cigna are also targeted for protests.  One of the big concerns in healthcare reform is lack of competition in many states and a few statistics are listed below.

United Healthcare is listed as a secondary target as far as market share, and they are making more money today with their technology investments over selling policies and have huge profits, even as other health insurance companies are reporting a drop in profits and just recently picked up a big chunk of HealthNet business in the northeast.   Just last week in the state of Washington, health insurance bids have to be redone, as they were declared illegal on how the bidding took place, but the United subsidiary Ingenix just landed a contract with the state of Washington to provide anti fraud data solutions, and those create transaction charges and profit, an interesting parody.  United is going to need that premium money though to fund the new telehealth system they have in the works with Cisco. 

In addition to the Blue CEO one member of interest is the wife of one of Senators from Indiana, who sits on the board of a few drug companies, one image in particular in the news of late being the biotech Dendreon, with all the controversy and stock manipulation.   Questions arise on how her husband can not be on the fence as far as perhaps doing the right thing with reform. 

“One is Susan Bayh, wife of Evan Bayh, the Democratic Senator from Indiana. She is a former attorney with the giant Indianapolis-based drug company Eli Lilly & Company. She is also a director of Curis (a drug company), Dendreon (a biotechnology company), Dyax (a biopharmaceutical company), and Emmis (a media corporation that owns radio stations and magazines). In the last two years, according to the Indianapolis Star, she has earned more than $2 million serving on the boards of these corporations.”  

And then we have the Bush family connection at Well Point:

“Another WellPoint director is William "Bucky" Bush, younger brother of former President George H.W. Bush, and the uncle of former President image George W. Bush. He is chairman of the board of Bush-O'Donnell & Company, a St. Louis-based investment management firm, and former chair of the Missouri Republican Party.”  

There are more listed at the complete article and the question lies in how can board members heavily involved in the profiteering side of business, even outside of healthcare have a true interest or motivation for the American public when it comes to reform, profits come first, right?  True healthcare reform and big profits just don’t mix appropriately when the complicated algorithms they live and die by for profits deny healthcare.   Algorithms create profit and are used as business models to keep claim liability and exposure down, called risk management.   BD 

Citizens will pay a visit today to WellPoint's Indianapolis headquarters to protest the giant insurance company's abusive practices and its opposition to real health care reform.

The rally is one of a nationwide wave of protests today in about 150 cities - including events outside the Cigna headquarters in Philadelphia and the United Health Group headquarters in Minneapolis -- to highlight the private health insurance industry's misdeeds and to call for reform that guarantees good, affordable health care and includes the choice of a strong national public health insurance option.

WellPoint runs Blue Cross-Blue Shield plans in 14 states. In Maine, for example, WellPoint controls 78% of the health insurance market. It dominates the market in Missouri, with 68% of the business, as well as in its home state of Indiana (60%), Georgia (61%), New Hampshire (51%), Kentucky (59%), Connecticut (55%), Virginia (50%), Ohio (41%, with the next largest company garnering only 17% of the market), and Colorado (with 29%, larger than runner-up United Health Group, with 24% of market share). In New York and California, WellPoint ranks second, with 21% and 20% of the health insurance market, respectively, in those two huge states.

The Los Angeles rally will target WellPoint's California subsidiary, Anthem Blue Cross, whose offices are located at 801 S. Figueroa St ., starting at 11 am.

The national day of protest is sponsored by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), a broad coalition of community and religious groups, unions, MoveOn.Org, and others. HCAN expects that today's events, and those in subsequent weeks, will re-energize a grassroots movement and push Congress -- including several conservative Senate Democrats now resisting a public option -- to enact significant reform.

On September 2, Consumer Watchdog accused WellPoint and another insurance giant, UnitedHealth Group, of pressuring employees to lobby against healthcare reform in Congress in violation of a California law against coerced political activity, according to the Los Angeles Times. The group asked California Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate its claim that the two corporations. pressured workers to write their elected officials, attend town hall meetings, and enlist family and friends to lobby for an industry-friendly bill.

Peter Dreier: WellPoint: Poster Child for Health Insurance Reform

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