Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Support Leahy and Conyers attempt to "Bust" the insurance monopoly

This is the letter that I sent to my representatives concerning the Health Insurance industry. It was in support of bills that Senator Leahy and Congressman Conyers have introduced to fix a glaring error in the oversight of health insurance companies. Visit their site at:


The last five paragraphs are from their "stock" letter; the rest is mine.

The unconscionable profits of America's health insurance companies are crippling the economy and driving hundreds of thousands into bankruptcy.

One of our good friends has just recently been forced to sell her home, a home which had been fully paid for by her and her husband over the last thirty years. Both had worked diligently their entire adult lives. They had each retired with excellent pension plans (railroad retirement), and medical insurance. They even worked together overseeing a storage facility several days a week, just for fun.

About two years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. He was a tough, positive fighter, and they tackled his malady head on. However, within a year, they were informed by their insurance carrier that they had "exhausted" their coverage. Our friends and their employers had been paying for this coverage their entire working lives, but within a year or so, it simply ran out. In order to continue the therapy that his doctors had prescribed, our friends had to re-mortgage their home.

Despite all their efforts, about nine months ago the husband died, and his wife, now on a fixed income, cannot repay the loan. This was not some spurious real estate or stock market speculation; this was not some outrageous, unproven medical chicanery; this was not some hopeless case in which they foolishly threw money down the drain.

Our friends had to "hock" their home, and now she has to give up that home, simply to pay for the regular medical treatment which the insurance company stopped paying because they had reached the company's self-imposed (and non-negotiable) payment limit.

It is hard to imagine that this insurance practice is not patently fraudulent and, therefore, criminal, but because of the unregulated nature of the industry, it is perfectly legal. Congress bears great responsibility for such occurrences. In many ways, Congress is at much at fault for these human tragedies as are the conscienceless, morally corrupt, for-profit insurance companies.

The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 exempts health insurance companies from the antitrust regulations that apply to nearly every other industry, rules that protect consumers from anti-competitive business practices like price-fixing.

Passing health care reform with an effective public option is one key way to promote competition in the health insurance marketplace, but we must also eliminate this unjustified and unnecessary antitrust exemption currently enjoyed by insurance giants.

That's why I urge you to support the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, S. 1681 and H.R. 3596.

This legislation, which has been introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy in the Senate and Rep. John Conyers in the House, will eliminate the outdated insurance industry antitrust exemption, and force health insurance companies to compete fairly -- like virtually every other business in America.

Thank you for supporting S. 1681 and H.R. 3596.


  1. Thanks for posting this Tim,
    There isn't a week that doesn't goes by without my hearing about one of my friends or their friends, having a crippling horror story due to the heinous ways of insurance companies. And of course, we all read about these stories everyday. With no way, it seems, to get around these giants, and due to the power that they never should have had in the first place, lives are ruined, as sure as someone has taken a gun and just shot randomly into the heart of their bodies. I myself had a liver transplant,on the 23rd of May 2008 and I know from whence I speak, about the loop holes, hoops and such. Pure Hell. So far I am one of the fortunate few, as Oregon and Hawaii do have a law stating that any and everyone has the right to be insured regardless of pre-existing conditions, or any type of refusal from an insurance company. One takes the rejection papers and re-applies. Problem is if you don't qualify for other programs that help, the payments for the state insurance available,can be exorbitant. And of course the lovely co-pays that have forced more than a few out of their homes,and into worse health, depression, lack of self, etc ad nauseum. We all could go on an on. I want to say that this is a grand piece of legislation. Any and all that can be done to crush this existing system is imperative. Paula

  2. P.S. Transplant was due to strange benign tumor, not riotous,decadent,excess. Darn. Paula