PDA

View Full Version : U.S. Issues Democrats Urge Investigations Over Mailer That Questions Their Health Care Plans


RINGLEADER
09-21-2009, 10:24 AM
WASHINGTON The government is investigating a major insurance company for allegedly trying to scare seniors with a mailer warning they could lose important benefits under health care legislation in Congress.

The Health and Human Services Department launched its investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a senior lawmaker usually viewed as a reliable ally of the insurance industry.

"It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform," Baucus said Monday, disclosing the HHS investigation.

The Senate committee that Baucus chairs Finance will vote this week on a sweeping health care plan that he's proposed to expand coverage and try to control costs. It would cut Medicare and Medicaid spending by about $500 billion over 10 years, but Baucus says that would lead to greater efficiency, not reduced benefits.

"The health care reform bill we released ... strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits," said Baucus. "From lower prescription drug costs, to free preventive care, to better treatment for chronic conditions, seniors have so much to gain from health reform and I'm not going to let insurance company profits stand in the way of improving Medicare for seniors."

The was no immediate comment from Humana, one of the largest private carriers serving seniors under a program called Medicare Advantage. About one-fourth of the elderly and disabled people covered under Medicare participate in the Advantage program, which offers a choice of private plans that usually deliver added benefits.

But government experts say the private plans are being paid too much about 14 percent more than it costs to care for seniors in traditional Medicare. The Baucus plan and other proposals would reduce payments to the plans, and the health insurance industry is fighting back.

The Humana mailer focused squarely on the Medicare Advantage program.

<B>"While these programs need to be made more efficient, if the proposed funding cut levels become law, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable," it said.</B>

It urged seniors to sign up with Humana for regular updates on the health care legislation, and encouraged them to contact their lawmakers in Washington.

In a warning letter to Humana, HHS said the government is concerned that the mailer "is misleading and confusing" partly because the company's lobbying campaign could be mistaken for an official communication about Medicare benefits.

HHS ordered the company to immediately halt any such mailings, and remove any related materials from its Web site. In the letter, the government also said it may take other action against Humana.

Baucus has been a strong supporter of the industry. He's the most prominent Democrat to oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan to compete with private carriers in a revamped system. During the Bush administration, he broke with his own party to support a Medicare prescription drug benefit delivered through private insurance plans, with no government role in negotiating prices.

Insurers, however, are pushing back against his plan. <B>Not only would it cut payments to private Medicare plans</B>, but it would also impose a $6-billion annual fee on the industry, partly to recoup profits from an influx of new taxpayer-subsidized customers.

Polls show that seniors are more skeptical of the health care overhaul than the U.S. population as a whole.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090921/ap_on_go_ot/us_health_care_overhaul_medicare

RINGLEADER
09-21-2009, 10:27 AM
Just one example of why you don't want the government involved in your health care decisions.

RINGLEADER
09-21-2009, 10:57 AM
Here's the mailer...

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/humanamailer.pdf

Donger
09-21-2009, 11:01 AM
So we're clear, "scaring" people is punishable by congressional investigation?

Chief Henry
09-21-2009, 11:07 AM
"Disclosure" is a MAJOR topic of concern in the insurance industry.

Since the Obama adm. is really considering cutting errrr (saving) $500 BILLION from Medicare over the next 10 years, it appears that someone needs to notify seniors that some of the benefits that they currently have could be taken away from them.

Can you imagine the out cry from the left and the media if the republicans were considering the same $500 Billion cut from medicare ? Remember when the left was having a cow over the Seniors being forced to eat dog food or reducing the growth to school lunch funding ?

BucEyedPea
09-21-2009, 11:09 AM
Wow, we really do live in a police state and the left thought Bush was bad?

BTW someone on another board who has written to the WH against HC reform is being audited as well as two more he knows of.

penchief
09-21-2009, 11:14 AM
"Disclosure" is a MAJOR topic of concern in the insurance industry.

Since the Obama adm. is really considering cutting errrr (saving) $500 BILLION from Medicare over the next 10 years, it appears that someone needs to notify seniors that some of the benefits that they currently have could be taken away from them.

Can you imagine the out cry from the left and the media if the republicans were considering the same $500 Billion cut from medicare ? Remember when the left was having a cow over the Seniors being forced to eat dog food or reducing the growth to school lunch funding ?

I've always supported cutting the program back to what it was before Bush allowed for the corporatization of Medicare. Almost all of the added expense is taxpayer money going to insurance companies, HMOs, and pharmaceutical companies for providing absolutely nothing more than what Medicare provided before the change.

If these savings are the result of cutting out the unnecessary corporate middle man I'm all for it. Who wouldn't be?

wild1
09-21-2009, 11:34 AM
So we're clear, "scaring" people is punishable by congressional investigation?

Sounds "fishy" to me.

Chief Henry
09-21-2009, 12:06 PM
I've always supported cutting the program back to what it was before Bush allowed for the corporatization of Medicare. Almost all of the added expense is taxpayer money going to insurance companies, HMOs, and pharmaceutical companies for providing absolutely nothing more than what Medicare provided before the change.

If these savings are the result of cutting out the unnecessary corporate middle man I'm all for it. Who wouldn't be?

Seniors have prescriptions covered now. Thats a good thing, right ?


Who will be the person(s) responsible for locating this $500 Billion in savings/cuts ?

BucEyedPea
09-21-2009, 12:12 PM
This is dirk's idea of individual liberty, I imagine?

RINGLEADER
09-21-2009, 12:17 PM
"Disclosure" is a MAJOR topic of concern in the insurance industry.

Since the Obama adm. is really considering cutting errrr (saving) $500 BILLION from Medicare over the next 10 years, it appears that someone needs to notify seniors that some of the benefits that they currently have could be taken away from them.

Can you imagine the out cry from the left and the media if the republicans were considering the same $500 Billion cut from medicare ? Remember when the left was having a cow over the Seniors being forced to eat dog food or reducing the growth to school lunch funding ?

I always laugh when Obama says he won't change your current health care plan.

Unless you're on Medicare.

RINGLEADER
09-21-2009, 12:19 PM
I've always supported cutting the program back to what it was before Bush allowed for the corporatization of Medicare. Almost all of the added expense is taxpayer money going to insurance companies, HMOs, and pharmaceutical companies for providing absolutely nothing more than what Medicare provided before the change.

If these savings are the result of cutting out the unnecessary corporate middle man I'm all for it. Who wouldn't be?


Then spell out the programs that will be cut and identify the savings. Make it a requirement of the bill rather than a goal.

There's a reason why the Dems won't do this...and it's not hard to figure out why.

It's the same reason they voted down amendments that would have specifically excluded illegals from participating or kept tax-dollars from going to fund abortion.

penchief
09-21-2009, 04:49 PM
Seniors have prescriptions covered now. Thats a good thing, right ?


Who will be the person(s) responsible for locating this $500 Billion in savings/cuts ?

They had there prescriptions covered through Medicare before. That's the whole point. I'm surprised you missed that. The only thing Bush did was create a windfall for corporations. They got thier hands in the taxpayer cookie jar as middlemen and are providing nothing more than what seniors were getting before.

Instead of Medicare paying the prescription (less the copay). Now Humana or whatever company is doing it. The government can't negotiate drug prices so the pharmaceutical companies are screwing the taxpayer into paying top dollar without recourse. The entire increase in the cost of the program has been a corporate boondoggle. No additional benefits have been provided. In fact, the only change is that the entire program is much more complicated and less efficient than before because of it.

But hey, corporations are getting rich at the expense of the taxpayer and that is what America is all about, so fuggit.

penchief
09-21-2009, 04:52 PM
Then spell out the programs that will be cut and identify the savings. Make it a requirement of the bill rather than a goal.

There's a reason why the Dems won't do this...and it's not hard to figure out why.

It's the same reason they voted down amendments that would have specifically excluded illegals from participating or kept tax-dollars from going to fund abortion.

I agree with you. Spell it out. I hate the politics of this as much as anyone. On both sides of the aisle. It's damned if you do and damned if you don't. So you might as well do what you believe instead of trying to compromise with those who are only playing politics, too.

wild1
09-21-2009, 05:00 PM
Ah.

Question the DNC line = congressional investigation.

penchief
09-21-2009, 05:10 PM
Ah.

Question the DNC line = congressional investigation.

Probably more like Humana is worried about the corporate boondoggle being cut out of the program causing them to lose access to billions in free tax payer dollars = scaring seniors into thinking that the cuts are coming out their benefits instead of Humana's gravy train.

The flyer is most likely a dishonest attempt to scare seniors for Humana's own benefit. Motivated by greed and played out in the political arena.

wild1
09-21-2009, 05:52 PM
Probably more like Humana is worried about the corporate boondoggle being cut out of the program causing them to lose access to billions in free tax payer dollars = scaring seniors into thinking that the cuts are coming out their benefits instead of Humana's gravy train.

The flyer is most likely a dishonest attempt to scare seniors for Humana's own benefit. Motivated by greed and played out in the political arena.

So, the Congressional investigation then. Into... that.

orange
09-21-2009, 06:11 PM
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850
_________________________________________________________________________________


September 18, 2009
Ms. Gail Miller,
VP, Strategy and Product Development
Humana, Inc.
500 West Main Street, 17th FL Louisville, KY 40202


Ms. Laura Kelley
Medicare Compliance Officer
Humana, Inc.
500 West Main Street, 17th FL Louisville, KY 40202


Dear Ms. Miller/Ms Kelly:

CMS has learned that Humana has been contacting enrollees in one or more of its plans and alleging that current health care reform legislation affecting Medicare could hurt “millions of seniors and disabled individuals [who] could lose many of the important benefits and services [emphasis in original document] that make Medicare advantage health plans so valuable. The message, which is included in an envelope that states it contains ―important information about your Medicare Advantage plan—open today!," makes several other claims about the legislation and how it will be detrimental to enrollees, ultimately urging enrollees to contact their congressional representatives to protest the actions referenced in the letter (see attachment).

CMS is concerned that, among other things, this information is misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, represents information to beneficiaries as official communications about the Medicare Advantage program, and is potentially contrary to federal regulations and guidance for the MA and Part D programs and other federal law, including HIPAA. As we continue our research into this issue, we are instructing you to end immediately all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your website.

Please be advised that we take this matter very seriously and, based upon the findings of our investigation, will pursue compliance and enforcement actions.

If you have further questions please contact [staff].

Sincerely,
Teresa DeCaro, RN, M.S.
Acting Director
Medicare Drug and Health Plan Contract Administration Group


http://finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2009press/prb092109a.pdf
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess misrepresenting a partisan political screed as official Medicare business is a no-no.

penchief
09-22-2009, 09:28 AM
So, the Congressional investigation then. Into... that.

I don't think an investigation is warranted yet. If they are intentionally misleading their customers I think they should pay the appropriate penalty and be forced to spend as much time and money setting the record straight as they did lying.

If it's proven that they are lying to their customers do you think there should be consequences?

Garcia Bronco
09-22-2009, 10:53 AM
I'd tell them to bring it. Let's put it on TV and show just how pathetic Congress actually is.

Garcia Bronco
09-22-2009, 10:55 AM
I don't think an investigation is warranted yet. If they are intentionally misleading their customers I think they should pay the appropriate penalty and be forced to spend as much time and money setting the record straight as they did lying.

If it's proven that they are lying to their customers do you think there should be consequences?

They didn't lie. Read the language. Unless you have a problem with the First Amendment. You were one of those "George Bush is going to suspend the 08 elections and declare himself king" people. But now you have no problem with suspending people's rights.

KCWolfman
09-22-2009, 11:05 AM
I don't think an investigation is warranted yet. If they are intentionally misleading their customers I think they should pay the appropriate penalty and be forced to spend as much time and money setting the record straight as they did lying.

If it's proven that they are lying to their customers do you think there should be consequences?

So, how long does ACORN have to spend and how much money setting their record straight>?

wild1
09-22-2009, 11:05 AM
I don't think an investigation is warranted yet. If they are intentionally misleading their customers I think they should pay the appropriate penalty

The penalty for what offense? A legal one?

KCWolfman
09-22-2009, 11:22 AM
I just read the mailer. I see nothing false or misleading about it.

Taco John
09-22-2009, 11:27 AM
If congress is going to pursue frivolous investigations, I'd much rather see taxpayer dollars wasted toward investigating Kanye and his rude outburst last week. Government should do something.

wild1
09-22-2009, 11:30 AM
I just read the mailer. I see nothing false or misleading about it.

Of course there's nothing wrong with it.

This is just a way for Congress to try to intimidate any company that would speak out against its plan. If you oppose us, you run the risk of us putting on a big theatrical production to generate negative publicity for your company.

KCWolfman
09-22-2009, 11:32 AM
Of course there's nothing wrong with it.

This is just a way for Congress to try to intimidate any company that would speak out against its plan. If you oppose us, you run the risk of us putting on a big theatrical production to generate negative publicity for your company.

I am starting to get lost.

So is Humana a racist or a Nazi?

wild1
09-22-2009, 11:34 AM
I am starting to get lost.

So is Humana a racist or a Nazi?

They're an evil corporation that wants to execute your grandmother.

morphius
09-22-2009, 11:34 AM
I am starting to get lost.

So is Humana a racist or a Nazi?
Wow, a KCwolfman sighting, how did I miss this? How is it going?

KCWolfman
09-22-2009, 11:39 AM
Wow, a KCwolfman sighting, how did I miss this? How is it going?

Jeff, all is well.

You?

morphius
09-22-2009, 11:45 AM
Jeff, all is well.

You?
Getting by, is about all I can say at this point, lol

Glad to have you back man, I missed having you around.

KCWolfman
09-22-2009, 11:50 AM
Getting by, is about all I can say at this point, lol

Glad to have you back man, I missed having you around.

Thanks, glad some reasonable posters are still here.

penchief
09-22-2009, 02:01 PM
They didn't lie. Read the language. Unless you have a problem with the First Amendment. You were one of those "George Bush is going to suspend the 08 elections and declare himself king" people. But now you have no problem with suspending people's rights.

Wait. Why are you making stuff up? I never once suggested that I thought Bush was going to suspend the 08 elections. I love how some of you go out of your way to falsely paint others as exteme or unreasonable so as to discredit any position they take. Way too much of that goes on around here.

It appears as though you believe Humana has the right to make unfounded claims as long as it suits your political agenda. I'm wondering why the conservatives around here aren't jumping for joy about this proposed cut in spending instead of defending Humana's scare tactics. Are you a conservative or just another corpo-republican whore?