- Photo by Joseph Moon, U.S. Navy, via Wikimedia Commons
Remember those phony attack ads by the "Independent Women's Forum" that told women they could wait months for breast cancer treatment if health care reform was passed?
Seems that WellPoint, America's largest insurer, has already been making sure that women go untreated under the same, awesome system the IWF was fighting to preserve.
According to a scathing investigative report by Reuters, the Indianapolis-based insurer has been dropping women from their health plans when they contract breast cancer:
Before they fell ill, none had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.
They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.
Once the women were singled out, they say, the insurer then canceled their policies based on either erroneous or flimsy information. [...] Insurance companies have used the practice, known as "rescission," for years. [...] But WellPoint also has specifically targeted women with breast cancer for aggressive investigation with the intent to cancel their policies, federal investigators told Reuters.
Still feel like arguing for the status quo, tea-baggers? Still wanna overturn Obamacare, Mr. Governor? Mr. Attorney General?
The real kick in the pants, of course, is that you've been paying for WellPoint's egregious malfeasance all the while.
Last month, we took a look at Wellpoint because of its anti-reform lobbying efforts. To wit, the company reportedly spent $1.2 million on lobbying the federal government in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone — pretty much the high point (or low-point, looked at differently) of the health care reform debate.
Perfectly fine for a company to lobby in its own best interests, right? Not when you're using my tax dollars it isn't: In 2006, WellPoint received a $3 million tax credit from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), a government agency, and was promised $5 million in forgivable loans, as a reward for expanding its Indianapolis operations.
What that meant was that your tax dollars, regardless of how you felt about health care reform, were indirectly funding the already well-moneyed campaign against it.
Well, guess what? The same math applies here. Taxpayers of Indiana, we've been had. Our money has been used to fill budgetary gaps that were created to save WellPoint millions. And by doing that, we've indirectly funded the suffering of women cancer patients across the country, whose main fight should be survival, not to keep the insurance they've already paid for.
Have fun explaining that to your wives, your mothers, your daughters, your girlfriends, yourself, if, heaven forbid, you or your loved ones get breast cancer.
Or the next time someone (like Governor Mitch Daniels, and Attorney General Greg Zoeller) tells you what an American tragedy health care reform is.
Time for the Attorney General to do the job he was elected to do, and protect the people. Nothing less than a criminal charge against WellPoint is acceptable.