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Having "Insurance Coverage" Often Doesn't Mean Having Healthcare

Posted by libhom Friday, October 16, 2009

Much of the phony "healthcare reform" touted by bought politicians and the corporate media involves forcing people to buy "insurance coverage" or face fines. Sometimes this approach is actually described as "universal healthcare." But, do people who do have insurance really get "universal healthcare"?

From the text of an email I received from the Color of Change 10/15/09:

The evidence is clear -- America's health care system is failing Black folks like Dawn Smith.

Dawn was diagnosed with a brain tumor that causes crippling pain and keeps her from working. The tumor was treatable -- but Dawn's insurance company, CIGNA, denied her treatment for two years. CIGNA finally changed their tune, but not until our friends at MoveOn.org brought Dawn's story to light.1

But CIGNA still won't promise to cover all the treatment Dawn needs. And they still won't explain why they denied her care for two years, let alone whether they'll change their policies. So Dawn is fighting back -- she's going to drive up to CIGNA's headquarters in Philadelphia to confront the CEO in person.

Fundamentally, Dawn isn't fighting just for herself. She's fighting for everyone who has struggled with irresponsible, unaccountable insurance companies who are fighting tooth and nail against the very reform that could level the playing field for Black folks, and improve health care for all Americans.

That's why we've joined MoveOn.org in supporting Dawn as she confronts CIGNA. Will you sign a statement of support for Dawn Smith? Your message will be delivered directly to CIGNA CEO H. Edward Hanway in person.


In a racist society like ours, it's no secret that white people are less likely to be denied coverage by insurance companies and HMOs. Also, racism based gaps in income equality also make it more difficult for people of color to make up the difference between the care they need and what HMOs and insurance companies cover.

However, it would be naive to think that the problem is limited along racial lines. Regardless of race, if you have been around long enough to be middle aged like me, chances are overwhelming that you knew someone who died because an insurance company refused to cover life saving treatments and coerced the doctors into saying that the treatments were not medically necessary. When a family is dealing with serious illness, people often don't have the time and emotional energy to look into the situation, much less fight, until it is too late. I know this from personal experience. Years ago, my best friend's father was killed by an insurance company, and being white didn't protect him.

Insurance companies always have had real death panels, yet the corporate media deliberately censor that fact.

The link above refers to a petition the Color of Change is supporting to help Dawn Smith. That is a good thing. However, it isn't enough. We need to make it clear to the politicians that any proposal that doesn't give people a chance to set themselves free of the HMOs and health insurers is not "reform." Ms. Smith's story is an example of why we need single payer now.

Contact Your Policy Maker Today (via 1payer.net)!

Despite the anti patient stand of the AMA, there is strong support for single payer among doctors.

Mad as Hell Doctors Rally at the White House



  1. This is what happens when you let an organization (see: Insurance Industry) that operates like the Mafia run our health care.

  2. GDAEman Says:
  3. Cool. Kevin Zeese. He's now a neighbor of mine in Charm City... believe it or not, I've got another friend named Kevin with a last name starting with "Z." What are the odds? Probably better than that of the Congress generating meaningful healthcare reform... but I ramble early on a Saturday.

  4. C Woods Says:
  5. In Michael Moore's SICKO, Moore spoke to a former Member of Parliament who talked about the reasoning behind the UK's decision to offer healthcare to all in the late 1940's. The reasoning was that if the country could find the funds to fight the Nazi's, they could find the funds to keep their citizens healthy. Why is it that our Congress can fund a war at the drop of a hat, but they fight over health care for months? I guess I have to presume that military and insurance industry political contributions are determining factors. How sad.

    I used to be against term limits for members of Congress, but I have changed my mind. The minute someone is elected, his/her priority is to raise enough funds to be re-elected. And that is sad, too.

  6. Writer Says:
  7. CIGNA stalled because that is what insurance companies do: because if they stall long enough, the "insured" person could simply die, and the company will not be out any money.



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