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Art Read
08-19-2009, 07:23 PM
Really? There're really going to go THERE? By what authority? Can't WAIT 'till these idiots actually get their hands on the controls.... :mad:

__________________________________________________ _____________

Democratic investigators target health insurers

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN & MIKE ALLEN | 8/19/09 10:12 AM EDT

Henry Waxman (pictured) chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Bart Stupak, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, signed the three-page letters.

House Democrats are probing the nation’s largest insurance companies for lavish spending, demanding reams of compensation data and schedules of retreats and conferences.

Letters sent to 52 insurance companies by Democratic leaders demand extensive documents for an examination of ‘extensive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry.” The letters set a deadline of Sept. 14 for the documents.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, signed the three-page letter dated Monday.

An industry source replied when asked for comment: “This is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition designed to silence health plans."

By Sept. 4, the firms are supposed to supply detailed compensation data for board members and top executives, as well as a “table listing all conferences, retreats, or other events held outside company facilities from January 1, 2007, to the present that were paid for, reimbursed, or subsidized in whole or in part by your company.”

For employees or officers making $500,000 or more, the committee wants information on salary, bonus, options and pension.

And by Sept. 14, the firms are supposed to provide copies of reports from compensation consultants, plus board drafts of compensation plans and information about market share.


__________________________________________________ _______________


What possible justification is there for this? Other than demonizing yet ANOTHER category of the American economy that they want control of?

.

Glen Longino
08-19-2009, 07:28 PM
I can't wait to watch this unravel.
Poor insurance companies exposing their underbellies for all to see.

Art Read
08-19-2009, 07:41 PM
I don't care if they've got "live boys" or "dead girls" in their closets! The government does NOT have any business interfering with the internal business affairs of private institutions! If they are managing their affairs poorly, it is the concern of their boards, their investors and their customers. NOT Henry Waxman's! That thug is just throwing up a smokescreen to hide his inept handling of his own party. THESE are the people you want designing YOUR health care options for the rest of your life? Unbelievable!

Glen Longino
08-19-2009, 08:29 PM
Ohhh, I don't know about that. Turnabout is fair play. What gives insurance companies the right to interfere in US gov't... by bribing congressmen and senators?

Exactly! While we're at it, let's have a close look at how much lobby money has been paid recently and to whom it was paid.

Keith Wilson
08-19-2009, 08:29 PM
I expect he doesn't have the power to force the insurance companies to release that information - although the disclosure laws for public companies require that quite a lot of information be made public. However, if they don't release it, it sure won't look good. My heart bleeds for them.

Tell me Art, what value does a health insurance company add? Why do we need them? Many countries seem to get along just fine without them.

Glen Longino
08-19-2009, 08:35 PM
Art must own an insurance company given the way he wails and whines.
Heck, Art, did you feel this way when the oil companies were dragged before congress? Do you also own an oil company? Poor mistreated oil companies!
Poor mistreated Insurance Companies!

Art Read
08-19-2009, 08:48 PM
What Mr. Waxman, and apparently you gentleman, seem to have forgotten, is that this is a nation of laws. Our members of congress were sent there to REPRESENT us in the making and implementation of those laws. They are there to serve us... Not the other way around. He has no business asking these companies to "justify" their selves to him. You might appreciate that distinction should they ever decide to become "curious" about you!

"Snicker" all you want, but this precedent, once set, may well one day soon be wielded by a committee chairman less amenable to you... Can you say Senator Palin?

john l
08-19-2009, 08:58 PM
i didn't know there was a law to rip people off. personally i think the insurance companies are shaking in their boots that a new health care program will really cut into their profits. the co-op program could do some real damage once it got going. somewhere i read that the admin cost of medicad was about 3% while the insurance co admin was about 35%.
but i don't think that the gov should demand info from the insurance companies. this info should be available as most of these cos are public companies. i think the cost inquiry should be extended to all tax dollars so
we can clearly and concisely understand how local and fed dollars for admin
are used.

Glen Longino
08-19-2009, 09:00 PM
I respect what you're saying, Art, but "we the people" has been subverted by "we the corporations", and it is not in the best interest of any of us.

John Smith
08-19-2009, 09:02 PM
Really? There're really going to go THERE? By what authority? Can't WAIT 'till these idiots actually get their hands on the controls.... :mad:

__________________________________________________ _____________

Democratic investigators target health insurers

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN & MIKE ALLEN | 8/19/09 10:12 AM EDT

Henry Waxman (pictured) chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Bart Stupak, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, signed the three-page letters.

House Democrats are probing the nation’s largest insurance companies for lavish spending, demanding reams of compensation data and schedules of retreats and conferences.

Letters sent to 52 insurance companies by Democratic leaders demand extensive documents for an examination of ‘extensive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry.” The letters set a deadline of Sept. 14 for the documents.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, signed the three-page letter dated Monday.

An industry source replied when asked for comment: “This is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition designed to silence health plans."

By Sept. 4, the firms are supposed to supply detailed compensation data for board members and top executives, as well as a “table listing all conferences, retreats, or other events held outside company facilities from January 1, 2007, to the present that were paid for, reimbursed, or subsidized in whole or in part by your company.”

For employees or officers making $500,000 or more, the committee wants information on salary, bonus, options and pension.

And by Sept. 14, the firms are supposed to provide copies of reports from compensation consultants, plus board drafts of compensation plans and information about market share.


__________________________________________________ _______________


What possible justification is there for this? Other than demonizing yet ANOTHER category of the American economy that they want control of?

.
Tonight I hear that the insurance companies want to make 35% profit on each dollar of premiums. Seems they've opened this door.

John Smith
08-19-2009, 09:03 PM
I don't care if they've got "live boys" or "dead girls" in their closets! The government does NOT have any business interfering with the internal business affairs of private institutions! If they are managing their affairs poorly, it is the concern of their boards, their investors and their customers. NOT Henry Waxman's! That thug is just throwing up a smokescreen to hide his inept handling of his own party. THESE are the people you want designing YOUR health care options for the rest of your life? Unbelievable!
Actually, the government has every right to insure there is no fraud being perpetrated.

Kaa
08-19-2009, 09:04 PM
The issue is not the welfare of the insurance companies. The issue is government overreaching. Remember that power corrupts.

Do you want the government to be a bully? Really?

Kaa

John Smith
08-19-2009, 09:04 PM
Exactly! While we're at it, let's have a close look at how much lobby money has been paid recently and to whom it was paid.

My question is: why is it legal to use my premium dollars to lobby against reform that is in my best interest?

Kaa
08-19-2009, 09:06 PM
Actually, the government has every right to insure there is no fraud being perpetrated.

Actually, no, the DA can open an investigation if there is some evidence of fraud. The government doesn't have the right to go on unlimited fishing expeditions.

Not to mention that this congresscritter wants pure public relations material -- retreats, conferences, pensions. Did he ask for anything related to fraud?

Kaa

John Smith
08-19-2009, 09:06 PM
The issue is not the welfare of the insurance companies. The issue is government overreaching. Remember that power corrupts.

Do you want the government to be a bully? Really?

Kaa
Do you want the insurance companies to be the bully?

Kaa
08-19-2009, 09:07 PM
My question is: why is it legal to use my premium dollars to lobby against reform that is in my best interest?

That's why:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Don't like it?

Kaa

Kaa
08-19-2009, 09:08 PM
Do you want the insurance companies to be the bully?

When a company gets used to being a bully, competition and customers suffer.

When a government gets used to being a bully, people die. Sometimes millions of them.

Kaa

JimD
08-19-2009, 09:12 PM
Is Haliburton in the insurance business? That's an investigation I wouldn't mind seeing.

Milo Christensen
08-19-2009, 09:12 PM
Exactly! While we're at it, let's have a close look at how much lobby money has been paid recently and to whom it was paid.

Yes, we will be eagerly awaiting the full and transparent disclosure from the White House about Senior Presidential Advisor Axelrod and the $344 million his companies spent to influence public opinion during the recently concluded election. But much more interesting is the millions spent by these two companies in the last several months on behalf of health care reform and the millions Axelrod is owed by one of the two companies.

Edit: A link (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hglkoB2YjIJvQTTQkh9vqEKQAiQAD9A666080) for the folks here who have a hard time keeping up with the latest connections of the Obama administration to everything related to BIG medical costs - Pharma, Hospitals, Insurance.

George Roberts
08-19-2009, 10:25 PM
"Tell me Art, what value does a health insurance company add?"

You really don't understand insurance. You pay an insurance company to accept your risk. You make out well because you have a more predictable future.

Works really nice for those whose health means something.

Milo Christensen
08-19-2009, 10:37 PM
. . . what value does a health insurance company add? Why do we need them? Many countries seem to get along just fine without them.


. . . You really don't understand insurance. You pay an insurance company to accept your risk. You make out well because you have a more predictable future.

Works really nice for those whose health means something.

Works even nicer for those who have a basic government provided health insurance policy and can afford to supplement with however much they want to spend on additional private health insurance.

Beowolf
08-19-2009, 10:52 PM
"Snicker" all you want, but this precedent, once set, may well one day soon be wielded by a committee chairman less amenable to you... Can you say Senator Palin?

No. I can't. I keep trying, but I can't seem to get my lips, or maybe my mind to form the words.

thsenatoooo...
sanetry paloo...
senator palllllyerino...
sanatorium palin...
senatree pulluuuu...
senator paa...paa...pay....Fey.

Damn, that last one was about as close as I could get. :D

Rigadog
08-20-2009, 05:05 AM
I don't care if they've got "live boys" or "dead girls" in their closets! The government does NOT have any business interfering with the internal business affairs of private institutions! If they are managing their affairs poorly, it is the concern of their boards, their investors and their customers. NOT Henry Waxman's! That thug is just throwing up a smokescreen to hide his inept handling of his own party. THESE are the people you want designing YOUR health care options for the rest of your life? Unbelievable!

what if these institutions are doing something underhanded?

Art Read
08-20-2009, 07:36 AM
"...what if these institutions are doing something underhanded?"

__________________________________________________ __


From Kaa's reply to John Smith:

------Originally Posted by John Smith------
------"Actually, the government has every right to insure there is no fraud being perpetrated."------

Actually, no, the DA can open an investigation if there is some evidence of fraud. The government doesn't have the right to go on unlimited fishing expeditions.

Not to mention that this congresscritter wants pure public relations material -- retreats, conferences, pensions. Did he ask for anything related to fraud?

_______________________________________________

You might also want to reference this, Rigadog:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

________________________________________________


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreasonable_search_and_seizure#Searches_and_seizu res_without_warrants


The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was ratified as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. The amendment specifically requires search and arrest warrants be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. Search and arrest should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer, who has sworn by it.

__________________________________________________

And most importantly: What if YOU are doing something underhanded? (Are you???) You want to let me see your hard drive just 'cause I'm "wondering"?

skuthorp
08-20-2009, 07:52 AM
what if these institutions are doing something underhanded?

In the business they are in they almost certainly are. Not illegal mind you, far from it probably, but certainly what a reasonable independent observer might call underhand. After all, the core business of a private health insurer is to pay out as little as possible. Legal fees fighting claims are tax deductible in the US I presume? As are stonewalling, bureaucratic delays, 'information' lines that are always on busy, I could go on.

Art Read
08-20-2009, 07:56 AM
"In the business they are in they almost certainly are. Not illegal mind you, far from it probably, but certainly what a reasonable independent observer might call underhand."

"...if they don't release it, it sure won't look good..."

"I can't wait to watch this unravel.
Poor insurance companies exposing their underbellies for all to see."

__________________________________________________ __

"Are you NOW, sir, or have you EVER been, a member of an Insurance Companies' Board of Directors?"

Nope. Sorry.... I'd rather not revisit THAT particular bit of our history....

Art Read
08-20-2009, 08:11 AM
"...Can you say Senator Palin?"

"No. I can't. I keep trying, but I can't seem to get my lips, or maybe my mind to form the words."

_____________________________________________

"Why... why, yes, Senator Palin. My organisation DID contribute significant funds to ACORN back in 2008... But, I swear! We didn't KNOW about this voter registration fraud business..."

Think it couldn't happen?:eek:

Dan McCosh
08-20-2009, 08:14 AM
Curious whether anyone has noticed the routine rummaging through personal health records via the Patriot Act.

John Smith
08-20-2009, 08:27 AM
That's why:



Don't like it?

Kaa
I don't understand it. If the insurance companies have a seat at the table for reforming healthcare, why would their "books" not be open for inspection? Even without a seat at the table, why would their books be a secret?

I'm not responding to the protesting. I'm responding to my premiums paying for some of that protesting.

John Smith
08-20-2009, 08:33 AM
When a company gets used to being a bully, competition and customers suffer.

When a government gets used to being a bully, people die. Sometimes millions of them.

Kaa
Unregulated private companies drive by greed, don't have a very good record; they've destroyed many lives.

In the area of health care. Medicare, the VA, and the military, seem to get pretty high marks, with relatively few horror stories. My mom's Medicare worked much, much better than my Blue Cross, which is the same Blue Cross option my congressman can choose.

Some people view the government as bullying when it mandates the wearing of seatbelts, airbags, motorcycle helmets, etc. How many people have been killed by helmets?

In making these laws, the helmet has to meet certain standards, or it would be quite useless.

We "socialize" many areas of our life, like fire departments, police departments, the justice system, etc. All have their imperfections, but I'd not want any of them to be privately run.

John Smith
08-20-2009, 08:36 AM
"Tell me Art, what value does a health insurance company add?"

You really don't understand insurance. You pay an insurance company to accept your risk. You make out well because you have a more predictable future.

Works really nice for those whose health means something.
It puts a high cost between you and your doctor. You pay more, your doctor gets less.

How else do you expect the CEO's to make millions?

John Smith
08-20-2009, 08:41 AM
"...what if these institutions are doing something underhanded?"

__________________________________________________ __


From Kaa's reply to John Smith:

------Originally Posted by John Smith------
------"Actually, the government has every right to insure there is no fraud being perpetrated."------

Actually, no, the DA can open an investigation if there is some evidence of fraud. The government doesn't have the right to go on unlimited fishing expeditions.

Not to mention that this congresscritter wants pure public relations material -- retreats, conferences, pensions. Did he ask for anything related to fraud?

_______________________________________________

You might also want to reference this, Rigadog:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

________________________________________________


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreasonable_search_and_seizure#Searches_and_seizu res_without_warrants


The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was ratified as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution. The amendment specifically requires search and arrest warrants be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. Search and arrest should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer, who has sworn by it.

__________________________________________________

And most importantly: What if YOU are doing something underhanded? (Are you???) You want to let me see your hard drive just 'cause I'm "wondering"?
Gee, I always thought these amendments expressed the rights of the PEOPLE, not businesses.

All of this means nothing, however, when the businesses, or the people, accept a seat at the table, testify to Congress, etc.

Why are we, under those circumstances, any less entitled to see the company's books than we are to know how much money the company has paid for lobbyists, or contributed to campaigns.

If the CEO of a company sits before Congress and provides data, are we not entitled to know if his testimony is factual?

How many individual complaints against a single company would it take to warrant Congress taking a closer look?

Milo Christensen
08-20-2009, 08:58 AM
Umm, John, join with us in demanding an audit of the Federal Government?

Art Read
08-20-2009, 11:10 AM
Wasn't somebody mentioning "low information voters"? (crickets...)

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-20-2009, 11:26 AM
The Congress of the United States, legally, has the ability to demand individuals appear before them and to compell testimoney under oath. Since Congress's ability to deprive individuals of their liberty and/or property is very limited they have an abilty to examine individuals and circumstances that is much broader than would be allowed in a court of law.
Rep. Waxman is head of a commitee that, probably, has the broadest reach of any committee in the congress. Waxman is smart and tough and not someone to be taken lightly. Even if all he accomplishes is making those insurance exectutives sweat a lot his efforts will not be in vain.

LeeG
08-20-2009, 11:37 AM
When a company gets used to being a bully, competition and customers suffer.

When a government gets used to being a bully, people die. Sometimes millions of them.

Kaa

something tells me that the deaths of those involved in wars won't be caused by investigating how/why health insurance has such a large cost in our health care system.

I agree abuse of gov't powers is something we should be wary of. At the same time I don't see this system changing painlessly, especially for those making a living in the insurance/health care industry.

LeeG
08-20-2009, 11:39 AM
Actually, no, the DA can open an investigation if there is some evidence of fraud. The government doesn't have the right to go on unlimited fishing expeditions.

Not to mention that this congresscritter wants pure public relations material -- retreats, conferences, pensions. Did he ask for anything related to fraud?

Kaa

One could make the argument that fraud is inherent in the system.

Milo Christensen
08-20-2009, 12:38 PM
. . . Hmmm... you know, I distinctly remember when it was revealed that Dick Cheney was taking deferred payments from Halliburton, a company which made hundreds of millions of dollars from doing contracting in the Iraq war (and doing it poorly, judging from dead US soldiers, electrocuted by shoddy work).

And I also remember that the conservative contingent shrugged it off...."nahh, the fact that they're still paying him doesn't mean that they're getting those contracts because of Cheney's influence.."

Hypocrisy is a bitch, sometimes.

That wasn't me. It's interesting that we both seem to have differing selective memories of history. Do you really want to go there? Should we drag up some of the threads about that sordid little episode?

Look, you won, we lost, it's our turn to froth and foam at the mouth about Democrat's in bed with health insurance and pharmaceutical and hospital companies, bwaaaaahaahaa.

bobbys
08-20-2009, 12:49 PM
That wasn't me. It's interesting that we both seem to have differing selective memories of history. Do you really want to go there? Should we drag up some of the threads about that sordid little episode?

Look, you won, we lost, it's our turn to froth and foam at the mouth about Democrat's in bed with health insurance and pharmaceutical and hospital companies, bwaaaaahaahaa..

Dont you understand the "your guy in the past was a crook so don't bring up our guys now" defense

George Jung
08-20-2009, 12:53 PM
Lot's of irony, the way this entire topic is unfolding. FWIW, I rather like this exposure to the light that Big Insurance is being subjected to; they've become the 800 pound gorilla, and 'market forces' is not going to work in this instance. And as the 'beneficiary' of Big Insurances' imposition into how I practice medicine, I say -' what's good for the goose' applies. I've no doubt they are the big hold up on reform, to everyone elses detriment. I'm a bit pessimistic about an chance of change, but..... never underestimate Obama's resourcefulness.

Though truth be known - I was a bit concerned when I discovered I might be in agreement with Norman on something - so I asked a Priest, my congressman, and a Rabbi what they thought of my conundrum.

They were unanimous - it's a sign of End Times.

Milo Christensen
08-20-2009, 12:58 PM
What Would Jesus Do? About health care reform? I see about 500 some odd Congresspersons and Senators struck down by lightning. Then he'd just go out in public and tell the people to bring him the sick. Sure wouldn't go to the Romans expecting them to provide health care, now, would he?

John Smith
08-20-2009, 12:58 PM
Umm, John, join with us in demanding an audit of the Federal Government?
I have no problem with that, but it sidesteps my point.

John Smith
08-20-2009, 01:02 PM
One could make the argument that fraud is inherent in the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaa http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2293140#post2293140)
Actually, no, the DA can open an investigation if there is some evidence of fraud. The government doesn't have the right to go on unlimited fishing expeditions.

Not to mention that this congresscritter wants pure public relations material -- retreats, conferences, pensions. Did he ask for anything related to fraud?

Kaa

One could make the argument that fraud is inherent in the system.



Actually, I think an investigation kicks off when there is probable cause to believe there is illegal activity. The investigation then determines if, and to what extent, there was illegal activity and who, if anyone, should be tried.

All that said, when the CEO or designee of any corporation testifies before congress, under oath, or simply has a seat at the table concerning changes within a system, his companies books are not protected. How else can the honesty of his testimony/positions be established?

Kaa
08-20-2009, 04:02 PM
I don't understand it. If the insurance companies have a seat at the table for reforming healthcare, why would their "books" not be open for inspection? Even without a seat at the table, why would their books be a secret?

Um, why wouldn't they be?

Since when businesses have an obligation to show their books to anyone but their accountants and the IRS?


I'm not responding to the protesting. I'm responding to my premiums paying for some of that protesting.

So, if you buy milk at a corner store you think you now have a right to tell the owner of the store what he can and can not protest?? :eek:

Kaa

Kaa
08-20-2009, 04:04 PM
Unregulated private companies drive by greed, don't have a very good record; they've destroyed many lives.

Compared to what? To governments?

You want to compare how many lives have private companies destroyed to how many lives have governments destroyed?

Besides, please show me unregulated private companies in the US.


We "socialize" many areas of our life, like fire departments, police departments, the justice system, etc. All have their imperfections, but I'd not want any of them to be privately run.

So, it seems you don't like private companies and you'd prefer them to be "socialized"? :D There's a word for that, you know...

Kaa