The Insurance Industry Pays a Visit to Daily Kos

Some of you may know that I am a regular contributor to Daily Kos.

I originally posted this diary there, but its significance transcends Daily Kos. Since the Democratic sweep in November, the insurance industry undoubtedly feels under renewed pressure to make inroads however tenuous, to the Democratic majority. So you can be assured they will now infect and pollute progressive web sites with their representatives spewing nonsensical concern for the plight of the 48 million uninsured Americans.

Make no mistake, these guttersnipes will do anything to deflect and divert the attention of the American people from the true crisis, the fast-approaching day of reckoning for the thoroughly corrupt and rotten to the core, for-profit U.S. healthcare system.

My original title for this diary was, Insurance industry to America: Up your A$$, I just couldn't resist, since I'm going to tell you about the newest assault on your health, high speed colonoscopies.

But now that some of the Daily Kos healthcare diaries (certainly mine), are being monitored and followed by representatives of AHIP, I thought a welcome to the insurance industry was in order.

The other day, a newly registered Kossack who goes by the name of ahipfactchecker, paid a visit to a diary I wrote on Daily Kos.

This is a link to his/her Daily Kos comments page.

AHIP, as many of you know is the trade association which represents the for-profit insurance industry.

This is from their web site.

Welcome to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the voice of America's health insurers. AHIP is the national association representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans (link).

Since AHIP has now assigned one of their own to visit Daily Kos, I urged my readers to educate themselves about this truly awful organization. AHIP is the enemy. AHIP hates the American people.

As I said in my Kos diary, they want only one thing, more bodies, more premium paying customers, more profits for their member insurance companies. The only way the for-profit insurance industry to generate profits is by denying you and me care and eviserating reimbursements to physicians.

AHIP only supports healthcare legislation which perpetuates our profit-driven healthcare system. AHIP exists to move presumably healthy bodies to insurance companies, then when the body falls ill, the for-profit insurance company denies as much care as possible. If you understand only one fact, this is what you need to know: every dollar a for-profit insurance company spends on your care, is a dollar that goes against the coroporate balance sheet.

This is AHIP in a nutshell, though their designated Daily Kos shill will twist him/herself into a pretzel to tell you a steaming pack of lies. But also remember, in Bushworld, lies trump truth.

Now allow me to explain my rather crude original title which ties in very nicely to the for-profit insurance industry.

There's a new study from the [revered] New England Journal of Medicine about colonoscopies. Here's a piece from the abstract.

Methods During a 15-month period, 12 experienced gastroenterologists performed 7882 colonoscopies, of which 2053 were screening examinations in subjects who had not previously undergone colonoscopy. We recorded the numbers, sizes, and histologic features of the neoplastic lesions detected during screening, as well as the duration of insertion and of withdrawal of the colonoscope during the procedure. We compared rates of detection of neoplastic lesions among gastroenterologists who had mean colonoscopic withdrawal times of less than 6 minutes with the rates of those who had mean withdrawal times of 6 minutes or more. According to experts, 6 minutes is the minimum length of time to allow adequate inspection during instrument withdrawal (link).

This study has received considerable media attention. I'll let you guess one reason (among others) why many colonoscopies have gone high speed. Give up yet?
M O N E Y and insurance company R E I M B U R S E M E N T

From the New York Times.

The study by the group in Rockford suggests a way to improve colonoscopy: by slowing down. "If you rush things, you miss things," Dr. Schoen said.

That happens in part because reimbursement rates for colonoscopies have fallen in recent years, and some doctors are doing the exams faster than ever, Dr. Schoen and others say.

"I have heard of people who do it in 30 seconds," Dr. Schoen said. "Whoosh, and it’s out." (link)

I don't think I'm going out on a limb to suggest that American medicine is driven by one imperative: money.

My dear friend, a surgeon and oncologist called me the other morning for what is the highlight of my day, our daily chat. Fasten your seat belts for this revelation from him. We're cautioned repeatedly, if we need surgery, select a surgeon who does the particular surgical procedure often. This is good advice--in theory. However, insurance company reimbursements are falling so dramtically, that some (unscrupulous) surgeons are "cutting corners" in an effort to speed up the surgery and schedule more patients on a given day. Nice, huh?

Mr/Ms. Insurance Industry Daily Kos visitor/shill, your system is in a death spiral. It's collapsing before your deceitful feet.

DrSteveB, a highly regarded blogger on Daily Kos, asked the money question, what's up with this Wyden bill? Why are we not hearing about authentic healthcare reform which is the Conyers HR -676 commonly known as Medicare for All.

Again we ask, Why should the Wyden bill be getting support & publicity, when the much longer standing "Medicare for All" proposal, currently packaged in Conyers HR-676 languishes on the backbench? Conyers, Dingell (prior years' sponser) along with Senate co-sponser Kennedy, are all more senior than Wyden. The bill has been circulated gathering congressional, grassroots and labor support... and that of lots of our new congresscritters. If it is shunted aside for Wyden's bill, then it means either Conyers and Kennedy and their co-sponsers have not been serious with us, or the Democratic congressional leaderhip is not serious about them. (link)

So this is a heads up. Yesterday the insurance creeps showed up on Daily Kos, who knows, they'll probably pay us a visit on Tort Deform one of these days. Maybe we're making some headway since the insurance industry deems it necessary to monitor what we're saying.

Yesterday, one Kossack suggested that we not automatically troll rate these people, better to engage them, y'all will have to make that call.

I'm not a troll-rater, I just get very angry when I read this stuff.

NycEve: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:45 PM, Dec 19, 2006 in Civil Justice | Health Care | Health Insurance | Insurance Industry
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Your links appear brokenish. I'd love to follow them if you fix them up.

Posted by: talboito | December 20, 2006 12:48 AM

I agree with much of this post, esp. (1) the importance of understanding the impact of financial incentives on the delivery of health care and (2) the importance of remembering that industry groups seek to advance their members' interests, not the good of society.

That said, it is not obvious to me that raising rates for colonoscopies (or any procedure) will motivate doctors to perform the procedure more slowly or carefully. It may just make "drive-thru" colonoscopies (or what have you) more profitable. There is a substantial literature showing that expenditures correlate poorly with health care quality.

The deep problem is that payers compensate doctors and other health care providers in ways that fail to reward high quality/low error rates. I don't know enough about colonoscopies to suggest a method of linking the amount paid to the quality of the service, but my hunch is that an educated person could design one.

Posted by: Charles Silver | December 22, 2006 10:02 AM

Sorry about the bad links, Cyrus was going to try and fix them. Try sending him an email, I am not a computer expert, it's a miracle that I am able to post.


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Posted by: R. Carrillo | January 6, 2007 11:06 PM