Insurance Lobbyist Karen Ignagni Stops Advocating Screwing Women

May 7, 2009

By Karen

Pro-private-insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans(AHIP) has dangled a new carrot before Congress, using self-employed women like me as pawns to kill any chance we’ll ever see affordable government-sponsored or single-payer healthcare.

Last November, AHIP president and CEO Karen Ignagni began trying to derail healthcare reform by offering to stop cherry-picking customers so only the healthiest and least likely to need it could qualify for individual insurance.

In March, she offered to stop charging ill people more, but quietly replaced illness with age as a reason to jack up premiums, disingenuously slipping insurers a means to hit everyone with hefty annual rate increases, ill or not.

Now, in the individual market where insurers can get away with anything, she’s admitting they typically charge women 25-50% more than men as punishment for having uteruses.

Ignagni now agrees with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) that screwing women is wrong and is offering “not to recommend continuing it.”

Senator Kerry, with all good intentions, has naïvely introduced a bill to prohibit insurance companies from using gender to set premium rates. But he’s just playing into insurers’ hands because they’ll simply increase men’s premiums to match women’s.

Can you say “Ka-Ching!”?

Congress, instead of rewarding the AHIP’s duplicity with lame “reform” that throws all Americans into the insurance pool to be devoured by these sharks, you need to recognize these tactics for what they really are:

Bold-faced admissions of an industry’s longstanding unethical practices and unconscionable discrimination for profit at any cost.

The only civilized response to “deals” like these is to shove universal healthcare bills HR.676 and S.703 down Karen Ignagni’s throat and eliminate all such double-talking, self-serving, useless leeches from the equation.

P.S. If anyone out there thinks you can scare me with “rationing,” go get yourself some individual insurance, visit a doctor, file a claim, and see how much of it, if any, gets paid. THAT’S rationing. We have it right now, thanks to the insurers Ignagni represents.


Putting Nancy Pelosi on Notice RE: Healthcare

April 30, 2009

By Karen

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outdid herself for smug ignorance at a recent Christian Science Monitor event, infuriating supporters of single-payer universal healthcare. She said…

“As our members came back from their recess, a great deal of what they heard out there was public options, public options, public options, public options. In our caucus, over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer. Well, it’s not going to be a single payer. … We had an opportunity for that awhile back, and it was not realized. And that’s not what it’s going to be. So we had to take people from a place that they see universal, affordable, quality health care available best in single payer and say this can be achieved in other ways.”

Pelosi can ignore the will of the people because she’s already got what we want — government-sponsored healthcare. Yeah, WE pay for it so she can sit in Washington and help her insurance buds screw us.

Private health insurance is based on making a profit from premiums by providing little or nothing in return. Denying claims and rescinding policies are used as employee incentives for personal bonuses and to boost the bottom line.

Because lives are on the line, it’s morally indefensible. Yet these are “the other ways” Pelosi coyly refers to.

Why is she so keen to protect health insurers? Because they’re generous campaign contributors — bribing politicians with OUR health insurance premiums. Eliminating them would mean hundreds of billions instantly freed from bureaucratic waste and political corruption for medical care.

Any politician who refuses to consider the single-payer option is really saying,

“Your healthcare expenditures should continue to be wasted or end up in my campaign coffers. To hell with you and your family’s medical needs.”

Two bills for universal single-payer care, HR.676 and S.703, now sit in the House and Senate. If one of them, or something similar, doesn’t pass, then we need to wipe Washington clean in the next election of every politician who puts insurance company profits above constituents’ health.


We Need HR 676 Passed Now

December 20, 2007

By Karen

When my health insurance company refused to admit pure greed as the reason my premium’s going up 18% in 2008, I vowed to get even. My first step was to vent my disgust here.

Yesterday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published my letter to the editor calling for private insurers to be eliminated through a universal single-payer system.

That letter earned me a phone call from Dr. W. Ferguson Reid, a distinguished retired surgeon who was the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly. Dr. Reid put me on to Physicians for a National Health Program, which supports HR 676, a bill to establish national health insurance (NHI) that has languished in Congress since February 2005. One of its sponsors is presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.

HR 676 would create a Medicare-type program for all Americans that includes health, dental, mental, prescription, and long-term care. It would eliminate private insurers and revamp for-profit healthcare facilities. We would all pay into the system on a sliding scale based on income, but never receive a bill for healthcare services, prescriptions, or medical supplies. Because it would squelch the pure avarice prevalent in today’s system, virtually everyone except insurance and pharmaceutical CEOs and their lobbyists would come out ahead in the long run.

Finally, our healthcare system would measure up to those of every other industrialized nation in the world. Who knows? Over time our life span might even catch up because we’d stop ending up in early graves thanks to unaffordable or denied care.

Unless you work in health insurance, pharmaceuticals, a parasitic side industry that feeds off the bureaucracy, or you generally think mankind should just go to hell, you have no reason NOT to support universal healthcare.

If you agree with me, read up on HR 676 and start spreading the word. Add your name to the petitions of grassroots groups like Healthcare-Now and filmmaker Michael Moore.

Guaranteed Healthcare, a project of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, and patients and community groups around the country, is another source of information.

The next item on my To-Do list is to find out which Virginia politicians are obstructionists, enjoying great free healthcare with my taxes while I pay through the nose for it. I’m going to let them know they won’t get my vote until they pass HR 676.


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