Thursday, May 27, 2010

If Government Regulation is Bad, Who is the Good Guy In Wellpoint's Masectomy Policy Change?

You hate government regulation, don't you, Mr. Republican?

It stifles "the market," costs jobs, suppresses freedom, creates burdens through untold numbers of government forms and red tape, and leads to totalitarianism/socialism/ communism/vegetarianism and every other "ism" that is reprehensible to the talking points that undergird your political belief system.

I will let you in on a little secret. I'm not keen on regulations either. But here's the problem. Just the threat of government regulation consistently achieves more things the public wants than what the market (and your party) ever deliver.

Let me give you an example.

You've heard of Wellpoint, the insurance giant based in Indianapolis? Well, you might know that they're taking magma-hot PR heat lately for raising premiums up to 33% in California, for rejecting claims because of ultra-technical disclosure violations not in any way related to the claims the denied patients file, and most recently, for a policy of not covering 48-hour, post-op hospitalizations for masectomy patients even when the physicians say it's necessary for recovery.

So I read today in the Indianapolis Business Journal that Wellpoint has pledged to extend this coverage, which is the primary provision of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, authored by Representative Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn).

Michael Steele, Representative Mike Pence, Governor Daniels, Mayor Greg Ballard, or any other GOP mouthpiece intent on bashing "government," can you answer these questions for me:

1. Do you want women to be able to stay in hospitals for 48 hours after a masectomy if their physicians say it's necessary?

2. Which do you think is more accurate: (1) these women are at fault for not putting aside extra savings for that boob amputation they always wanted; OR, (2) they probably weren't expecting cancer so they got "insurance" from their employer to cover the hazards of the unknown, which is, as you may know, why people buy insurance?

3. Which do you think is more accurate: (1) these women are at fault for not putting their extensive medical knowledge into practice to realize the average stay time for a masectomy recovery is longer than what a Wellpoint policy provides and then going out to buy an extra-day-stay masectomy policy rider; OR (2) they probably took whatever policy their employer offered and lived under a now-exposed-as-delusional-belief that their insurance carrier might follow the lead of somebody who's actually been to medical school?

4. Assuming you answered "yes," "they didn't expect cancer," and "they thought their doctor would make the call," here's my last question: who can all the women who have Wellpoint policies thank in the future if they get breast cancer and are permitted to stay in a hospital for 48-hours, as their physician recommended?

Would that be the people who bring the threat of government regulation or the market?

Actually, sorry to Colombo you, but I do have just one more question.

If "the market" would have compelled Wellpoint to adopt a modicum of humanity with respect to breast cancer patients, do you think there would even be a Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act?

The Democrat rests.



Anonymous said...

Wellpoint's entire business model is based on the denial of health care, not the providing of health care. Because as a corporation, their goal is to make a profit for their shareholders. So obviously, they're going to do whatever they can to maximize that profit.

I believe that if we have to have insurance companies (and I don't believe we do, because at the end of the day, a single-payer system is the only one that makes moral sense) then they should be regulated as utility companies are. I believe that access to affordable health care is more of a right than access to affordable electricity. A slow and predictable profit and reasonable salaries and bonus structures should be the norm for insurance companies (just like for utility companies), not profit-making based on taking advantage of the sick.

Anonymous said...

Amen to your post and to comment number 1.

Mann Law, P.C. said...

I doubt this bill that was introduced by a congresswoman who has been in the House since 1991 and sponsored one bill that became law has anything to do with Wellpoint's announcement. This bill was introduced March of 2009 and had a subcommittee hearing in October 2009 and nothing else has happened. Be ware of Greek's baring gifts. Wellpoint is up to something. If they are changing it is because they are being sued for these actions and are loosing and not because some congresswoman from Connecticut.

Anonymous said...

It certainly isn´t Woody Myers who keeps talking of running for some office as a Dem even after years of working for Wellpoint denying medical claims for policy holders.