Saturday, April 30, 2011

Insurance lobbyists celebrate passed version of SB 1274

Rafael del Castillo reported yesterday that "the health insurance lobbyists burst into applause and were high fiving and slapping each other on the back in the overcrowded conference room for several minutes" after the committee passed SB 1274.

While del Castillo was denied a copy of the bill, he writes that the jubulent reception by the health insurance lobbyists means "that the Baker bill that is going to the floor of each house for a vote repeals our consumer protections and segregates the health care consumer populations for experimentation."

Why are we allowing health insurance company lawyers anywhere near state legislation, let alone legislation that restricts civil rights by benefiting shareholders at the expense of policyholders? Evercare and Ohana get paid about $100 million a month by Hawaii. If the current state law is costing them millions of dollars in legal fees, they make a better profit if they can find a way to eliminate those costs.

How much of their monthly capitation income is being spent on legal fees? How much on actual services? Has anybody considered that if the companies would stop violating federal Medicaid regulations, their legal fees could be reduced substantially?

SB 1274 is literally going to be giving the insurance companies a license to kill.

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.