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Toddler Too Small for Health Insurance

Toddler Too Small for Health Insurance

Can the health insurance industry get any more ridiculous? 

First we heard about Alex, the 17 pound baby boy from Colorado who was turned down for health insurance for being too big, even though he was quite healthy. Now comes the story of a two year-old, also from Colorado, who was turned down for health insurance because she is too small. Not unhealthy, mind you, just tiny for her age according to insurer standards.

Aislin Bates weighs in at just 22 pounds, but according to her parents has suffered no illness beyond the common cold, although they have sought treatment for finicky eating. The parents’ attempt to foster healthy eating habits for their child, rather than being seen as a strong pro-active measure toward good health, is instead being used against them.

The family is seeking insurance in the individual market before their COBRA coverage runs out. Mr. Bates applied for insurance through United HealthCare because the family — including Aislin — was previously covered by them under an employer-based plan.

The powers that be at United Health Care could not even be swayed by a letter from the family doctor confirming that Aislin’s size is genetic and she is, in fact, developing normally.

Aislin is in the 3rd percentile; Alex falls into the 99th percentile. Not that it’s any better to discard unhealthy people, but refusing to cover perfectly healthy infants and toddlers because of their size is unconscionable. 

In the boy’s case, after intense national media coverage, the insurance company said it would change its policy for large but healthy infants. It’s not the first time an insurer has done the right thing only when forced by public attention. 

Babies too big, toddlers too small, too old, too female, too ill, too disabled… what is it going to take for it to sink in that insurers aren’t in the business of health care at all?

Time and again the insurance industry has proven itself to be driven by profit above all else, including human life. Is this an industry we want to continue to trust to regulate themselves? Can there still be any question at all that health care in America needs a major overhaul?    

This Wednesday, a House of Representatives panel voted to approve a plan to make health insurance companies subject to antitrust laws. That would certainly be a step in the right direction, but it’s only one step.

Without a strong public option, profits will always trump people.

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Photo: Centers for Disease Control

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49 comments

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8:01AM PST on Nov 23, 2009

(see next few comments below): a national sales tax of 0.1% or less, higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, new taxes on other goods that, when overused, lead to heart disease, cancers, and diabetes. Another good idea is the reduction of or complete removal of all food/farm subsidies given to any industry that supplies goods that, when overused, lead to heart disease, cancers, and diabetes -- or a transfer of these subsidies to organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. We also might want to think about decreasing the defense budget or introducing a national tax on marijuana.

8:00AM PST on Nov 23, 2009

Option 2: Dissolve all of public industry related to health care into the private sector as well as remove the state boundaries so that competition would be on a national level. Next, a panel of experts at the Department of Health and Human Services creates very in-depth score cards for each of section of the industry: insurance agencies, hospitals, private practices, etc. The lowest grade on those score cards should be given to those entities that, in most cases, put quantity and profit before quality and humanity. The highest grades should be given to those entities that do the inverse. The entities with the lowest grades should be penalized, or taxed, on a scale, to reward (subsidize) those entities on the other end of the scale. Lobbying of the Department by those entities will strictly be prohibited. If too many entities score poorly, and there is an overabundance of penalty money, then that money should be used to fund new projects that the better scoring entities seek to do. If there are an overabundance of high-scoring entities, then those entities should be rewarded (subsidized) with money gained from any or all of the following (this also would be the means of paying for Option 1):

7:59AM PST on Nov 23, 2009

Option 1: Dissolve all of private industry related to health care into one giant, NON-PROFIT, HUMANITY-DRIVEN co-operative that works to provide the best, most efficient care to all people while still being able to pay the doctors and scientists fair salaries on a quality- and performance-based scale, rather than the quantity-based scale of the current profit-driven system. Current executives, owners, presidents, etc of the private industry will be given their severance and pensions, but their positions will not be filled. The new health care system will be split up into regional districts, and decisions in the new system will be voted on by all participating physicians in that region. Districts will be monitored and scored by the Department of Health and Human Services, and federal spending for new advances in technology, as well as salaries, will be distributed fairly among the districts based on their quality score cards. Lobbying of the Dept by those districts will strictly be prohibited. Each district will be granted the chance to give quarterly presentations to the Department to make their cases for funding. Insurance could be collected at variable rates, but all three contributors - employers, employees, and the unemployed - would be contributing far less under this system than they are under the current profit-driven system. Incentives could be given to employers that as the number of employees they have rises, the less per employee they are obligated to pay.

7:53AM PST on Nov 23, 2009

Although the issues of rising costs will not be fundamentally addressed with any of the bills in Congress at this time, I concur that they are steps in the right direction.
The very idea of unregulated private health care industry means, by definition, that the few will profit from the ills of the many. When considering health, the number one factor in both one's quality AND quantity of life, the idea of placing profit-driven initiatives in any part of improving and sustaining that health is morally wrong and unjustified. The quality and quantity of life of all people should be ever-present goals of humanity and its governments. To me there are only two modes of action that could cure the cancer that is our current health care system:

7:18AM PDT on Oct 28, 2009

We need to take the profit out of health insurance, and the only sure way to do that is to remove control of our health by for-profit corporations that have proven that their greed and avarice knows no bounds. People are dying and it's no less a pro-life issue than abortion. Yet the pro-lifers have not stepped up on the behalf of Americans, showing their political bias and hypocrisy. Where is the outrage and the push for health care from the pro-lifers? Where is the common cause? Politics comes before logic for them.
Americans are demanding not-for-profit health insurance and health care, and we will accept nothing less, that is why people voted progressives into office last November.
It's time to fix the problem and save lives, especially those of toddlers. You would think that conservatives would be behind this, since so-called "red states" have so much more to gain from a fixed health care system. Lives that are saved go on to make money and vote.

11:44AM PDT on Oct 27, 2009

Anyone notice how much the news reported about people who were adamantly against health care reform. All the idiots who cannot think past their nose were sending emails to everyone propaganda that we don't want government involved in business. Granted most of these folks were uninformed, but the press gave them so much video time showing guns, and the Hitler posters, as if to convince others to join them. TV news is not journalism but editorializing, and persuasion, and propaganda. Things will not change as long as the airwaves are subject to commercialism, big business telling us what to think. The airwaves are public space and the networks pay to use them, but in reality corporations own the major air waves. We need to support non-commercial stations, like public access which broadcasts Link TV and Democracy Now news that is generally aired in the morning M-F at 9 am. The insurance companies and pharma are just to powerful, not only own the airwaves, and influence what is written in newspapers since they pay for advertising. We must get some laws passed which limit the influence corporations have on our legislators, as well as the airwaves. I don't know how we are going to do it, but it must be done if we are to again be "We The People", not "Corporate American Reigns".

10:34PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Susan, you know what? You're right. It's a sure thing; if you're born, you'll die.

Hell, why didn't we realize it sooner? Who needs medical care when everything is SO cut and dry!! (sarcasm towards ASSHOLE INSURANCE COMPANIES)

I'd PAY to watch someone tell an insurance CEO that the company is dropping them from their health insurance for a pre-existing condition.

The irony would be DELICIOUS.

8:26PM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Let's face it people ... LIVING is a pre-existing condition. Therefore, your coverage will be terminated.

7:18AM PDT on Oct 25, 2009

Dear care2 members,
Do you want to come over and play ? And allow us to show you how to reach the world with your efforts and ours. Below is just one of our goals and we support anything that is just.
No More Protesting Government Health Care Ideas
It is also underway to stop petitions being filed
Because you are poor you have no right to....{see story 2007} at our web site
No public option in health bill? Not so fast
Letter from Washington: Proposal that seemed dead showing signs of life.

Dena Bunis
Washington Bureau Chief
The Orange County Register
dbunis@ocregister.com
Comments 12| Recommend 1
I said a couple of months ago that it's dangerous to make predictions when it comes to health care.
Then I proceeded to predict that there would be no public option in whatever health reform bill went to the House and Senate floors.
Note to self: Listen to self. Stop making predictions.

We was sent to care2 to help save the Freedom Of Speach, you are invited to see how in 2007 the poor was to be considered not to have rights in a caging concepts.
, and more issues.........

10:00PM PDT on Oct 24, 2009

Dianna Kathryn G. says, "These people need healthcare coverage more than do normal-normal people." That's just the point - the healthcare industry is big business, operated for profit. They only WANT to cover people who don't need it! That way they maximize their profit.
Seems to me we need to go back to the original concept of insurance: a non-profit, risk-sharing arrangment.

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