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Greedy Insurers Reconsider Dumping the ‘Dogs’ after Public Outrage

Greedy Insurers Reconsider Dumping the ‘Dogs’ after Public Outrage

Suppose you are a health insurer in a state that does not allow you to discriminate against people who submit large claims. If you can’t legally dump the sick, what’s an insurer to do?  Well, you can always dump the entire plan and everyone on it. 

That’s what New York’s Guardian Life Insurance Company did when things got expensive for 37 year-old Ian Pearl, who has muscular dystrophy. One Guardian Life executive went so far as to call call high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl “dogs” that the company could “get rid of.” 

As Ian’s mother puts it, the insurance industry has “gone from risk management to risk elimination.”

Mr. Pearl wonders “why myself and others like me, who depended on this policy, paid premiums, and did nothing wrong, are suddenly targeted as dogs because we are disableddisabled people are not dogs.”

A Guardian company spokesman said that was an “unfortunate choice of words. We certainly don’t condone it and it doesn’t represent this company. Guardian acted appropriately and in full compliance of state laws.” Indeed. A federal court has ruled that there is nothing illegal about the company’s actions. 

Mr. Pearl stands to lose his health care benefits as of December 1, with his around-the-clock-care for type II spinal muscular dystrophy costing a whopping $1 million a year.

There may be nothing illegal about it, but it’s certainly immoral to cancel health insurance for an entire group of human beings simply to squeeze out a bit more profit. The health insurance industry enjoys loop holes like no other industry. In case there’s still doubt, that’s why greedy insurers need to finally be held accountable, and that’s why comprehensive health care reform can no longer wait.

Is this the kind of society we want for ourselves? One where the sick and disabled, and those who just don’t fit into the mold are simply eliminated from the system? 

If you are still among those who feel safe and that it can’t happen to you, think again. You need not be sick or disabled; you could be dropped from your policy for no reason other than that you share it with someone deemed — by for profit insurers — as too costly to keep. Now there’s something to think about.

Hear Mr. Pearl for yourself, on this CNN report:

Note: Following intense public pressure, Guardian Life Insurance Company announced Thursday that it would restore coverage for Ian Pearl — but no word yet on the rest of the 500 people who shared the same policy as Mr. Pearl.

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Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1004852


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77 comments

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7:16PM PST on Nov 2, 2009

Thank-you Deborah for the Nazi Germany analogy. And yet the right wing extremists are the ones who are comparing Obama to Hitler. It's great how they love to accuse others of what they are doing.

5:58AM PDT on Oct 30, 2009

The problem is, when they kill all of us imperfect (read poor, ill, disabled, minority, etc.) ones off, they will be surrounded by other medically healthy but morally bankrupt, callous, greedy people like themselves. They will have to live in a hell of their own making.

They would also have killed off 90% of the Democratic base, which is part of the object of keeping the insurance companies as long as it takes to act as their "gas chambers." Oh, Hitler would have loved it had he been alive today.

5:48AM PDT on Oct 30, 2009

Why are Americans so afraid of Canadian health insurance?

Diane, it's because the conservatives in this country want to cherry pick who gets covered and who doesn't, depending on their personal perfection of body or intellect. Because of the conservative Republicans in this country, America is the closest thing this planet has to being Nazi Germany all over again.

9:13PM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

That's the whole point. They want us "unworthy ones" to die. They don't want to be surrounded by what they consider to be imperfection. The problem is, when they kill all of us imperfect (read poor, ill, disabled, minority, etc.) ones off, they will be surrounded by other medically healthy but morally bankrupt, callous, greedy people like themselves. They will have to live in a hell of their own making.

7:27PM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

"How many people have to die or come close to it before we realize the insurance industry needs to be seriously reformed? This is so wrong."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCAPX0RKwDU

That pretty much says it all.

5:58PM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

How many people have to die or come close to it before we realize the insurance industry needs to be seriously reformed? This is so wrong.

7:51AM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

None of this happens in Canada. Whoever has the greatest need regardless of ability to pay is given the care they need first. Why are Americans so afraid of Canadian health insurance?

7:03PM PDT on Oct 27, 2009

Jennifer MacVean,.......... Pretty much agree. BUT you are wrong on the Political "contributions" (bribes). Democrats are receiving more "contributions" (bribes) than the Republicans and have been for awhile (source: opensecrets.org). Perhaps that explains the lack of any cost bargaining in the legislation? And the deals made earlier with big Pharma in the negotiations? Let's be honest; both Democrats and Republicans are the problem. Government has been captured by Wall Street. People who want the Government involved with Health Care will, most likely, get exactly that. But whose interests are the Government looking out for?... Caveat emptor.

7:31AM PDT on Oct 27, 2009

And, sadly enough, even for people who wish to die, the options are few, difficult, and prolonged. Greed and self-serving intentions make for much misery.

6:39AM PDT on Oct 27, 2009

That's the current world order for you - the Nazis dumped "useless feeders" too. The entire administration needs deposing, nobody even remotely related to - or friendly with - previous members should be allowed to take their places.

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