The real death panels

The California Nurses Association has published a study showing the astronomically high claim rejection rate among the state's insurance companies. Here are their figures:

Claims denial rates by leading California insurers, first six months of 2009:

  • PacifiCare -- 39.6 percent
  • Cigna -- 32.7 percent
  • HealthNet -- 30 percent
  • Kaiser Permanente -- 28.3 percent
  • Blue Cross -- 27.9 percent
  • Aetna -- 6.4 percent
Read the entire article for more details and specific examples. And it really is a matter of life and death, as the Association concludes:

CNA/NNOC supports an alternative approach, expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, which would give the U.S. a national system similar to what exists in other nations. Data released in late August by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which tracks developed nations, found that among 30 industrial nations, the U.S. ranks last in life expectancy at birth for men, and 24th for women.

(With thanks to PG for the heads up.)

Speaking of death panels. The Washington Post reports on Sunday that the bombing of tanker trucks by German forces that led to the deaths of an estimated 125 people, many of whom were not Taliban, was ordered on the basis of "intelligence" from one Afghan informant. This is the kind of disregard for human life that guides the U.S./NATO "mission" in Afghanistan. Even the news media seems to share at least partly in this attitude: Each such incident is accompanied by a comment from the reporter about how the killing of Afghan civilians is making the population increasingly angry at foreign troops in their country. Is that what's so bad about it? Perhaps if the reporters tried to talk to the families of the victims they would have another perspective.

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Robert Grocholski said…
You know, if you're a big private insurance company and you don't pay out claims, my my, said company could stand to make quite a handsome profit...

What do they do in some of those European countries? Isn't it the case that in say, Germany, that the insurer has to pay the claim within 5 days or the next months premiums are free? Takes solid regulatory powers by the state to pull that off, though.