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Health IN$URANCE

By       Message John Jonik     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/27/09

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"Con" is the Operative Part of "Reconciliation" on the Health Bill

We are now to endure something called "reconciliation" of the House and Senate "health care" (insurance industry care) bills as if industry-funded House members and Senators are opponents yearning to come together on differences to better serve constituents. Consideration of the wants and needs of the public is Off the Table, thus demonstrating the obvious---that officials in this government are rarely agents of the people.

Still, the public has power and time to make demands, especially of Congress members facing elections. This is to suggest some simple, sensible demands for inclusion in this bill to make sure it maximally serves the public and does not remain, as it is, the Insurance Industry Protection and Enrichment Act.

1) No for-profit insurers participating in, or benefiting from, the Act may invest in any industry that produces or manufactures health-damaging and health-threatening substances (pollutants, etc.) or products including, but not limited to, processed multi-adulterant cigarettes, tobacco pesticides or other pesticides, fossil fuels, petrochemicals, dioxin-producing chlorine products, military weaponry, pharmaceuticals that make tobacco pesticides and/or cigarette additives, genetically- engineered crops, non-organic foods, high fructose corn sweeteners, petroleum-based plastics, radioactive waste, and so forth.

a) No CEO or other top executive of a participating insurer, or immediate family, may have economic relationships with such businesses for five years before, or five years after, their position with such an insurer.

2) Participating insurers must disclose, up-front, without customer request, any and all investment properties they own, and the amount invested. This is a Right To Know issue. Government has no right to compel speech, with scarce few exceptions such as taxes, the draft, grand juries, doctors required to report shootings and child abuse, etc. People have the right to not speak to or otherwise interact with insurers that invest in businesses that one may oppose for moral, religious, political, or personal business reasons. With no acceptable option, that basic right is denied.

3) To prevent conflicts-of- interest that work to the detriment of the public's well-being, no participating for-profit insurer may insure and be beholden to those businesses.

4) No participating insurer, non-profit or for-profit, may use public tax revenues, or revenues paid to private insurers by citizens under compulsion of the mandates, for advertising or PR (including supporter announcements on "Public" Broadcasting) , as those things provide no Public Interest health benefit.
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5) Participating insurers, unlike businesses in the non-mandated area, will have no Proprietary or Trade Secrets. As either de-facto or actual agents of the people's government, as recipients of public funding (directly via mandates, or second-handedly via tax revenues), "Sunshine Law" principles will apply so that the public can monitor, publicize, comment on, and control all business dealings.

6) Salaries and other compensation to CEOs of participating insurers will be no more than what is paid to other government agency directors. To allow otherwise would harm the public, economically and physically, by depleting money from public health care. No "deferred payments" will be permitted to such CEOs, or their heirs or assigns, in perpetuity.

7) Participating insurers and executive officers must have no investments in, or business insurance relationships with, pharmaceutical firms because that would create motives for insurers to use their power to favor drugs from their investment properties over other drugs (be they natural public-domain, or patented industrial drugs) that may be safer, less expensive, and more effective.
Such a conflict may deter insurers from acting on, investigating, disclosing, or warning about harmful effects of drugs produced by their investment properties. Even if insurers claim or show that they do not favor their own drugs, the need for the Appearance (as well as the reality) of conflict-free health care, being necessary for trustworthiness, prevails.

8) Participating insurers must show that they have paid proper compensation to victims of their investment properties, and are facing no outstanding claims against their investment properties for penalties or other obligations relating to individual or public health.

10) Participating insurers must show that they have no outstanding charges or suits against them for misdeeds (unjustifiable denial of claims, arbitrary refusals of payments for pre-existing conditions, invalid contracts with consumers, etc.).
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11) Participating insurers must, by law, end the practice of lobbying for legislation that their customers may not approve of because the funding for such lobbying is coerced and compelled by law, and because such lobbying may be for legislation detrimental to the person's, and everyone's, environment and health.
Such lobbying, heretofore, and questionably, has not been a disclosed or agreed-upon element of contracts between insurers and customers. Full disclosure of the elements of a contract is necessary.

12) Participating insurers may not, by law, contribute to campaigns of any candidate for public office, or to any political party, because the revenue for this is not freely given for that purpose, because any number of customers may oppose the candidate or party, because this violates basic principles of voting, elections, and democracy, and because the revenue for such political purposes generates no benefit to public health.

13) Participating insurers may not use revenues collected from compulsory customers, or from public tax revenues, for private jet transportation, private business trade conventions, or for luxuries relating to corporate headquarters. None of those things are justifiable for public health purposes.

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Long time activist in areas relating to industrial toxics, media content and control, death penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, hemp prohibition, civil rights, insurance influence in public governing, religious influence in public governing, unsafe foods, (more...)
 

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