Thursday, 13 August 2009


I didn't receive my cheque as an operative, but Axelrod sent me this e-mail:

"Dear Friend,

This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain e-mail of our own. At the end of my e-mail, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.


David Axelrod
Senior Adviser to the President

P.S. We launched this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we've just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage
  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.
Learn more and get details:

8 common myths about health insurance reform
  1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.
  2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.
  3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.
  4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.
  5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.
  6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
  7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.
Learn more and get details:

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now
  1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:
  2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:
  6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:
  8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:"


LisanTX said...

Excellent. I especially like the way the "myths" section was worded, with the truth first, then the myth, then details of the truth.

Let's send this to our friends and family to help dispel the fear and disinformation that is growing. All of us need to become active to counteract the "fear meisters" that are so vocal.

Let's educate America, not dumb it down. Thanks.

basheert said...

Hi everyone:
To those who have great health care, good on'ya. Just a simple quote "why should good decent people CARE about trying to get health care for raving moronic loons on Social Security/Medicare when they don't WANT IT obviously?"

No really, all the old farts at these meetings, bitching whining moaning and complaining all HAVE Medicare already. They all probably get Social Security. They get senior discounts at restaurants and theaters.


So far, I have not heard ONE SINGLE SOLITARY CREDIBLE QUESTION out of these braindead old fools. They do not have a point to make obviously.

They probably have a fire department, access to 911, they eat at Denny's for 1/2 price after 4:00PM (love those early bird specials).

This is about the people who do NOT have insurance and who are trying to get answers to their questions...that are being shouted down by old white guys with guns!!!

This debate has taken a turn for the obscene.

You have Braindead Sarah Palin who is a nobody and who apparently issues her press releases out of her basement on Facebook that she has someone else write because she is to stupid to do it herself.

Why is it that the old nedicare yellers who already HAVE insurance refuse to let people ask questions???????

God this whole thing is just stupid and everyone is going to LOSE - and we will be a nation divided (because the President is BLACK and most of this is about nasty racism).

Sarah Palin KILLED over 200 of her own Alaska citizens and the MSM is giving her FACETIME?

Sickening...this whole entire thing is sickening.

I want MY country back...

Thanks everyone - sorry for screaming fit but I am angry and frustrated for the many people who want answers and aren't being allowed to ask questions.

If this isn't handled right, we will all lose.

basheert said...

And before you yell at ME for calling them old farts - we ARE old farts to many of you!!!

But we're on YOUR side - because we have gold plated insurance and 100% 24/7 access to physicians whenever we want and we'd like all of you to have the same opportunity.

Health care should not be a debate - it should be a civil right.

My comments on Sarah Palin stand though. She is quite literally, tearing our society apart with her stupidity and craziness. If she thinks she will come out the winner, she is sadly mistaken.

If most of us did not hate her before, we loathe her now.

Michelle said...

Please see ThinkProgress - apparently Former Gov. Palin was for "death panels" before she was against them.

As Gov. she signed a proclimation: announcing "Health Care Decisions Day"

Anonymous said...

Let's face it guys the teabaggers/deathers/birthers/crazy people aren't going to read anything or listen to facts. The don't care about the facts - they only care that we have a black president. That is all.

I personally think all we need to say is that we are going to cancel our socialized medicare program if they don't want the government in our business. Since a lot of these people are mostly over 60 that would shut them up pronto. Not sure what would work on the under 60 group; however, they still have parents that would be devastated without medicare.


basheert said...

debinOh you are assuming these individuals CARE about their parents right?

Perhaps they should all "opt out" at their belligerent little racist meetings?

Because it is all about Mr. Obama - it isn't about health care. Not to mention the MILLIONS of dollars our Congress is getting from the insurance industry.

Medicare could be SO much better. Many of the docs won't even take Medicare patients because reimbursement is so low. So the losers are .....

What is so sad is that these loudmouthed individuals on Social Security and Medicare are being used, frightened and manipulated by the Insurance Industry.

So ... guess who the LOSERS are?

Ooops loudmouth racist old white guys with guns...

wv: boychick

Dianne said...

One of the MANY hypocritical and she-was-before-it-before-she-was- against-it items is that Toad and their children ARE all covered under Toad's native status. They all have government health care. All of them. She doesn't tell her base this though, or those loudmouth racist old white guys with guns and their own government health care.

KaJo said...

basheert, that was a fabulous rant -- you said it for this old fart, too.

I'm just months away from Medicare, and wondering if my husband's and my supplement from one good ol' private insurance company is going to total $700/month...add to that about $60/month for Rx coverage.

basheert said...

I ranted to you yesterday - on UHC. Did you see what I said about the United Health Care USAA supplement - it includes the Rx coverage.

Want to email me???? Regina can put us in touch - trust me, my hubs went over every supplement with a fine tooth comb and he hasn't USED it for 6 years!

FEDUP!!! said...

I am a couple years behind you guys, KaJo and basheert, but looking into the future with weary eyes - We just checked hubby's insurance yesterday, and found out that his company is paying almost $1100/mo for the two of us.
On top of that, we pay a monthly premium of $130 for me, so total insurance cost/month is $1230 for the two of us.

Or $14,760/year.

That does NOT include our $500 deductible, and does NOT include our $20 co-pay for each doctor visit/prescription filling, and does NOT include our out-of-pocket costs for vitamins and other supplements, which NO insurance company is willing to pay for - even though THOSE are PREVENTATIVE, i.e. meant to keep us HEALTHY...

Let me just say WE DREAD the time when we have to pay for this highway robbery out of our own pockets!

I believe people at those townhall meetings should bring up this outrageous theft by the health insurance companies!

basheert said...

Hey FEDUP - why do you think people are NOT willing to give up their Medicare?

OK so here goes.
Husband has United Health Care (includes FULL prescription benefits) and his premium is $300 per month which comes out of his Social Security.

He has paid $300 a month for SIX years because he is full time enrolled with his employer. If you do NOT sign up with Medicare and make a choice at Age 65, your premium will INCREASE.

What we ran into is that I am more than EIGHT years younger than hubs so he is covering me at work although we both recognize if we need to go private we can. We have access (full) to any type of physician at no cost unless we choose the hospital.

Before you think I am a United Health Care AARP shill, I am not. I am wife to a physician. I "see" my husband when I need care.

But looking into the future, hubs chose the gold plated, top of the line....Medicare supplement.

I hope this helps - you need to read all the info to make a decision carefully based upon your needs.

Also our financial advisor advised us to take Social Security at the earliest possible age (62) - the odds are we will get 3-5 years more payback if you do because if you do happen to die early or sooner, no one gets what you have contributed.

basheert said...

Just forgot to mention this premium does NOT include the medicare deduction. Since I am collecting Social Security but don't have Medicare, my SS is not burdened by insurance ...

basheert said...

OK sorry to be a pest; The United Health Care PPO Plan is VERY liberal and in fact covers many procedures that our private insurance does NOT cover.

Check it out at AARP - they have a great book they will send you (early) so you can read and make decisions early.

basheert said...

FedUP - want to correspond? Regina can hook us up.

Anonymous said...

When people go nuts about a so called Death Panel (thank you Sarah Palin), I think it would be a good time to revisit the Terri Schiavo case.

In brief, Terri was brain dead, costing her husband both money and emotion as he wrestled with the terrible decision on when it was appropriate to "pull the plug."

Terri had not left a living will, the sort of counselling that weould be paid for in one health care proposal. It is up to the individiual to say "Don't pull the plug, no matter what," or "Please don't let me lie there, filled with tubes when there is absolutely no hope at all." Each person has to make their own decision, in consultation with their loved ones, a doctor, a lawyer, even a representative of their religion if that is appropriate.

Terri's parents clung to hope, and the husband proved in court that Terri would not want to suffer this way. It went on for years. There was no hope; she was brain dead despite Senator Doctor Frist trying to make a diagnosis via video.

In addition to Terri's family, right to life protesters weighed in, as did then Governor Bush getting a law passed in Florida,which applied only to Terri, and our Senate-- the ultimate example of government interference in a personal matter.

None of us want the government to insert itself in our private most personal decisions. But they do, in regard to a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, if for example, she was raped.

Sarah was probablly encouraged to keep shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. I think that there is a conservative fringe that like how she fires up a crowd, turning them into angry lynch mob. She's just the gal to do it without knowing what the issues are- just the buzz words.

Sorry for such a long post, but my buzz words are Remember Teri Schiavo. She was a young woman who thought that she would live much longer; she would have benefited from the counselling being discussed. And, if it had been her choice to lie in that vegetative state, those would have been her wishes. We each get a chance to choose.

basheert said... try and imagine that the Congress of the U.S. voluntary INSERTS themselves into the decisions of your family member for political reasons?

All of your family laundry is being exploited - your child's hopes and dreams, thoughts, wishes...

And the Congress of the US grabs YOUR child's life. You have nothing to say about this.

It's not about your dying daughter, it is about POLITICIANS -


It's what they want.

KaJo said...

basheert said...KaJo: I ranted to you yesterday - on UHC. Did you see what I said about the United Health Care USAA supplement - it includes the Rx coverage.

Want to email me???? Regina can put us in touch - trust me, my hubs went over every supplement with a fine tooth comb and he hasn't USED it for 6 years!

:) Was your response to me here on Regina's blog, basheert? If it wasn't HERE, I can't remember where else it was! (senior moment).

Tell me where to go, so I can read what you said.

And we can go over to Mudflats Forum and sent messages back and forth, if you want.

basheert said...

KaJo: Regina has my email - and can put us together if you want.

She has put me in contact with another person and we correspond regularly and I cannot REMEMBER where I posted to you.

Her email is on her blog and I've asked her to get us in touch if you contact her.

I think I went back at you re UHC medicare supplement through AARP on Gryphen's blog. Gryphen also has my email ...

KaJo said...

Done, basheert... :)

basheert said...

You have email KaJo.