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.