Monday, September 21, 2009

CIGNA greed making health care system sick

By John Bachtell
Chicago – “Help! Help!” shrieked a young woman to passersby. “Uncle Sam is so sick!” The terrified woman stood over the prone body of Uncle Sam as she sought the attention of pedestrians beneath the cold hulking glass and steel offices of CIGNA Insurance Company.

Towering over Uncle Sam was the horrific visage of “Count Bleed-Ya-Dry” or what could certainly be any insurance company. “I have a solution,” cried out the Count, in an eerie Dracula-like voice. “I’m better than a doctor. I’m an industry churning out profits,” he screamed lustily as he drew blood from Uncle Sam.

Meanwhile, the gathering crowd was poked with a giant needle symbolizing the billions of dollars being drained from Americans by the insurance corporate giants.

The young street performers chanted:

The clear solution that’s left
Despite the lies from the right
Is Medicare for All
We can win this fight
Insurance is a pain
Health care is a human right
Single Payer health care today!
Single Payer health care today!

The skit was performed by members of Backbone Campaign, who were promoting the upcoming visit of “Mad As Hell Doctors” on a nationwide tour calling for passage of single payer or “Medicare for All” legislation to solve the health care crisis. They will arrive in Chicago Sept. 25 and end their tour in Washington, DC on Sept. 30.

“Americans need health care, not insurance bureaucracy, bills and bankruptcy,” chanted the young street actors. They pointed out CIGNA denied 33% of claims in California and wondered what the figure was in Illinois. “Caring for profits over people is CIGNA’s business!”

CIGNA is also being mercilessly exposed by former employee turned whistle blower Wendell Potter, who said insurance companies are under tremendous pressure not to pay out claims by their Wall Street investors.

"You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations," says Potter.

CIGNA had $19 billion in revenues last year and its CEO Ed Hanway, has received over $120 million in bonuses the last five years.

The health care system is in such crisis that 15 million Americans will be forced to visit an emergency room this year because they lack insurance coverage. A universal health care system could put an end to 100,000 preventable deaths a year, according to the group.

Many in the crowd were startled to hear that the health insurance industry is spending $1.6 million a day to defeat the current health care reform in Congress and to maintain the status quo. Flooding congress with money was subverting democracy, the group insisted. Instead, they urged support for a single payer system to take the profits out of the health care and restore Uncle Sam to vitality.

No comments:

Post a Comment