Health insurance bigger sharks than casinos? Heavily protected from lawsuits, they ask the feds for a 35% copay policy for enrollees

Watch the clips below, and then contact the media and then please ask them why Wendell Potter has not been on their shows to share his knowledge and experience about health insurance in the US.

The amazing news in the first clip below is that the health insurers have asked the feds to set up a 35% copay policy for their enrollees (that is, that all of us will have to pay). That is nice work, if you can get it.

I just watched the clip above at the Balloon-Juice blog and thought it deserved wider exposure. Wendell Potter used to be an executive at a major insurer, and he knows how it works, because he was one of the executives deeply involved behind the scenes.

In the clip above, Wendell Potter talks about the death of Nataline Sarkisyan after Cigna initially refused her a liver transplant. Apart from that sad story, Potter has interesting things to say about the insurance industry’s protection against lawsuits through several laws, the most important of which is ERISA (it is explained in the clip).

To be fair and balanced, there are some state and federal laws and regulations that allow free riding by people when they get sick, which is unfair to the insurers and to policy holders. But I think that the insurance industry gains far more from laws like ERISA than they lose. I have been puzzled why their unusually strong legal protections have not been discussed more in the health care debate.

FDL is the only place I have seen any discussion. There have been two diaries/posts on the legal environment of health insurance in the US: the one below, and another that claimed insurance companies had unusual exemptions from antitrust law (sorry, I cannot find it now). I aint no lawyer and can’t vouch for the claims of these posts. For example, I think ERISA severely limits what state governments can do.

The True Health Insurers’ Enablers? Our STATE Insurance Commissioners?
By: WarOnError Thursday August 20, 2009
http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/7396

But that is not the point. The point is why are these issues not discussed in the media? Why do the advice and knowledge of sober, experienced and informed people from medicine, epidemiology, public health, law, and dissident viewpoints from inside the health insurance industry itself, seem to be censored from most of the mass media? Why do we have to listen to insane and ignorant spoutings of political operatives, hacks and bad faith politicians day after day?

I think the rules limit me to two embeds per post, but I recommend doing a youtube search "Wendell Potter", and watch his appearances. He seems to have only appeared on PBS and the the ‘liberal’ shows on MSNBC, and some special productions, including one from Brave New Films.

I think this man’s wide and long experience in the healthcare industry, and his obvious thoughtful, moderate and very reality based perspective should be on other networks. The media contacts are below.

ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Site/page?id=3068843

CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/feedback/fb_news_form.shtml?tag=ftr

CNN
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/

NBC and MSNBC news shows
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10285339/
Chris Matthews
http://www.thechrismatthewsshow.com/html/contact.html

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