Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina--My Open Letter to My Scumsucking Insurance Company

When I collected my mail today, I had this piece from my friendly health insurance company, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina:





Here is my response:

Dear Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina:

Who wants Federal government intervention in the private health insurance market? I do!

I want a public option. In fact, I want more than a public option--I want single-payer healthcare. Want it more than a kid wants candy at Halloween and presents at Christmas. Want it even more than I wanted a pony when I was 8.

Why? Because I think healthcare is a human right, and I don't think it should be a profit-making venture. Because I think insurance is nothing more than legalized extortion-and I'm tired of having my pockets picked, only to be told that you won't cover X,Y, or Z. Oh, and by the way...you're raising my premiums by nearly 30%.

You bill yourself as "nonprofit," which may make some gullible people think you are looking out for their best interests. But I know better. I've done my homework, and I've found the numbers:
I've got to hand it to you, BCBSNC. You've got chutzpah. You can corner the state health insurance market, make millions in "nonprofits," pay your executives whopping salaries, raise my premiums while cutting my benefits--and still find a way to spend my hard-earned money trying to get me to lobby against my own best interests!

But you forgot one thing...I'm not a mindless FOX News drone and I'm not easily manipulated. I had been feeling tired and worn out with the whole healthcare debate--but your little mailing gave me an energy boost!

You see, I have my Senator's and Representative's phone numbers programmed into my phone. They both got calls today about the mailing you sent me. I doubt you'll be happy about what I said.

And that postage-paid postcard you wanted me to send to Senator Kay Hagan? The one that asked her to "please oppose government-run health insurance" because it would allow the government to compete "unfairly" with the private sector? I crossed out your message and wrote her asking her to support a true public option.

It gave me great satisfaction to know that you'll be paying a few cents of the money you have extorted from me over the years to lobby against YOUR best interests. It also gave me great pleasure to discover that I'm not alone, and that others are taking action too.

We take our victories where we find them.

Sincerely,
Doxy

UPDATE: The story made the front page of our local newspaper today (October 28), and I"m not the only one who's pissed! You can read about it here. One wag taped the card to a brick! Since the mail hasn't gone out yet, I'm going to see if I can do something similar. ;-)

UPDATE #2: Check out my follow-up post.

61 comments:

Maggie said...

Preach it, sister! Thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! That postcard switcheroo should be a national movement! I am inspired now!

Sam D.
Burbank CA

just another duck on the pond said...

'can hardly WAIT to use my new fave word SCUMSUCKING in my next post on the health care industry & on the SCUMBAGS that occupy congressional seats with health care collars around their necks...and thanks for the fb heads up on your post...

johnieb said...

You aren't the only one who wants that for all U S residents. I don't get things like this, perhaps because I haven't had insurance since 1998: TBTG; I must struggle with the Federal guvmint run single payer system I have dealt. I'm fine, of course, but I do feel bad for my many friends who must live this nightmare.

I do admire your rants, Ma'am, and happily recommend your work to all who will listen.

it's margaret said...

Good God. You are wonderful....! I love the postcard idea.

The rightwing scumsucking dildo running for Governor of this fine Commonwealth gave the church a call this afternoon, inviting me to his rally here in Richmond.... I listened to the whole thing in case he left a phone number to call to volunteer ---and I was going to call and give them hell.... but no such luck.

Thank you for the word 'scumsucking.' It's one of the best!

Fran said...

Doxy rocks the house!

I love your reply.

I hate that they even sent that kind of mail.

I hate that the postcard was in there.

I love what you did with it.

I wish that our president would get pushy on this. The people who hate him, hate him anyway.

And if I hear about "Democrats with ties to business" again, my head will explode.

Which my insurance might not cover.

it's margaret said...

Oh --but I just remembered, Joel always shreds stuff and then mails it back in self-stamped return envelopes.... that's a good one too.

Nicole said...

Right on, honey!!!!!!!! Great post!

Katie Schwartz said...

Fuckin-A, baby! Fantastic open letter. Get em' for all of us.

Fran said...

I see that Katie was here, I love me some Katie Schwartz and sent her this link. I sent this link to a lot of people.

And I just blogged it.

You really inspired me today. And every day!

ABC said...

I do wonder how a "non-profit" justifies making huge profits and wasting money on sending propoganda to its customers. I have wondered for years how BCBSNC gets away with making so much money. I suppose free speech is how it gets away with lobbying its customers to act against their own best interests. Thanks for your free speech!

Hilary said...

A great rant - thank you!

kenju said...

Excellent post and I love your answer to BCBS! I agree with you 100%.

Mnmom said...

I'm here from Fran. SAY IT!!!
I'm with you 100%. And I'm stealing your idea of programming my reps into my cell phone.

Gillian said...

Preach it indeed! Way to go! Now I'll know what to do if Empire BCBS (who provide TEC seminarian insurance, no matter your location) send anything similar).

MarkBrunson said...

That was made of awesome, Doxy.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Y'all are too kind...thanks!

I've updated the post, but I'll post it here for those who've already commented:

UPDATE: The story made the front page of our local newspaper today (October 28), and I"m not the only one who's pissed! You can read the about it here. One wag taped the card to a brick! Since the mail hasn't gone out yet, I'm going to see if I can do something similar. ;-)

Paul said...

You just keep getting awesomer!

Thank you for speaking up for all of us.

eileen said...

God I love you! This was teh AWESOME!

Wish they would send me one now, so I could do the same thing in NJ - where the douche running for Governor wants to scale back mammograms and such, even though his own mother is a breast cancer SURVIVOR.

UGH. You rule!

whiteycat4104 said...

Doxy, you ROCK!

PJ DeGenaro said...

Awesome!!! See, I would have just sent the thing back to them with "F*ck Off!" scrawled across it in red nail polish.

(thats cuz I teech collegdge studints).

eileen said...

Yeah..but you would spell fuck correctly, wouldn't you?

Wormwood's Doxy said...

One can only hope!

lj said...

Ever since I heard about this card I've been eagerly watching my mail so I can send it back to BC/BS or on to Kay. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the brick idea. Oh, yeah, baby, bring it ON!

Jane R said...

HALLELUJAH THANK YOU JEEEESUS PREACH IT SISTAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. My scumsucker is United Health Care, which just inflated the price of an albuterol inhaler to $50, for an insured person mind you, when that stuff has been on the market for at least two decades. I just deleted the rest of this P.S. I'll just go growl now.

P.P.S. Send a copy to +Michael. I'm serious. Though he may have seen the paper...

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Check out my follow-up post. Jasper was not amused, but I was... ;-)

Cheers,
Doxy

Jane R said...

Btw, "scumsucking" is now in my spell-checker. :-)

susan s. said...

Yay, Doxy! You have cajones, girl!(well, really ovaries). You are woman, hear you roar!!!!!

Paul (A.) said...

It was worth the wait since September 25 to see these two posts.

Again you remind us, Doxy, why the world loves you.

Keep up the good work!

Distributorcap said...

i am here from Fran
you so ROCK!!!

can we steal this and use it for all the scumsucking insurance companies all over the country

great letter

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Distributorcap--Feel free...and thanks for dropping by!

PaulA--you made me blush...

I'm really surprised at what a nerve this seems to have touched! All I know is that I was livid when I first realized what they had sent me.

Caminante said...

If VT BCBS sends a similar letter, I'll do the same sort of research and send it off. They have a lot of gall.

(Sorry for the previous note that only had four letters on it; my pinky hit the return rather than shift key.)

TheraP said...

OUTSTANDING!

just another duck on the pond said...

taped it to a BRICK! awesome!! take THAT scumsuckers!

just another duck on the pond said...

well i had that one sitting cold in the comment box from this morning so i sent it flying off before i read about the BONE...REALLY. the potential for serious commentary in 3D is suddenly before us...will rake through the vocabulary for something more imaginative than sh*thead :) .... but wouldn't THAT be fun? *sigh* forgot how truly satisfying a little sophomoric action could be...

Paul (A.) said...

You may also get some visitors from AMERICAblog.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Thanks, Paul--I've already had a few hits from there.

Thanks to all of you who have linked me. I've had a HUGE number of hits today--and most of them are first-time visitors.

I've also had some hits from Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield--wonder how long before their NC counterpart shows up? Dear Friend is already joking nervously, "Have they canceled our insurance yet?" ;-)

motheramelia said...

Great going. Love the postcard idea.

Ellie Finlay said...

Truly, truly excellent!

~flowerchild~ said...

BC/BS of Michigan also just raised their premiums 22%. Plus, earlier in the year they pink slipped 1000 employees to cut costs. Apparently, so the CEO could keep his raise.

Are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Officer Salaries Excessive?
05/19/08
In his second year as chief executive officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Daniel Loepp earned $1,657,555, a 67% raise over his $999,351 salary and compensation in 2006, the company’s 2007 financial records show.

From the Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2008.

Diane said...

hurray for you, Doxy!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Go Doxy! I'm sorry that I'm so very late here. Everything you've done and said to the beastly leadership at BCBSNC is perfect, just perfect.

The bone was the perfect additional touch. I hope that Jasper has his new bone and is no longer miffed at you.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Flowerchild--thanks for dropping by and for the info. I wasn't kidding when I said that BCBSNC raised my rates 30% in one year---I turned 45 and I've been told that the 5-year marks are automatic big increases.

That increase, BTW, put the cost of my health insurance for myself and two kids at 25% of my GROSS income.

And what option did I have? I'm self-employed. BCBSNC has an almost total lock on private health insurance in NC---their market share is well over 90% for those kind of policies.

My only recourse was to raise my deductible substantially--and, btw, accept limits on payouts. So, if anyone in my family (God forbid) gets cancer, we are screwed.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Mimi--Jasper DOES have a new bone...and a few minutes ago, he was under my desk licking my feet. I think all is forgiven. ;-)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Glad to hear it, Doxy.

Until a few years ago, I hadn't realized how fortunate Grandpère and I were to be covered by guvmint health insurance for most of our working and retired lives - first through the state, as GP was a state employee (Louisiana self-insures), and now through Medicare. And to think I took it for granted all those years.

IT said...

How bizarre it is that those with guvmint insurance (including Congress, or Medicaid) are so oppoesd to the option that anyone else should have it.

Ramonas Voices said...

Doxy, I came here from TPM and TheraP's links. Just wanted to tell you how excited I am to be reading your blog. If you don't mind, I'd like to add it to my blogroll.

The pieces about the backlash against the BCBS postcard are priceless!

But I'm still shaken over your piece about the death of your friend. It is a tragedy compounded by the knowledge that greed and selfishness played a big part in it. This is what we're all fighting for. There are many of us at TPM and elsewhere who have basically turned our lives over to fighting against the forces that have grown heavy from feeding on us, trying to turn us into nothing more than draft animals.

All of our voices together will bring this country to a place where caring and integrity rule. Thank you for all you do here. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Gregory said...

I'm certainly glad to be on this blog, as I'm always interested in reading others opinions on this subject. For starters, yes, I'm one of "those" folks not interested in the government option. A listing of my thoughts...

1. I'm not one that believes health care is a right. Solid health care is something we're fortunate as a society to have. We have great health care because of the private sector, not in spite of it.

2. I'm not one to judge the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies in a negative light. Are they perfect in everything they do? Absolutely not. But let's face it, there are tons of folks employed by both, folks interested in doing nothing but good for their customers. One can always find anecdotal evidence of any company where service is bad, policy is bad, etc...but one thing I believe people miss are the good things these companies do. Let's look at the pharmaceutical companies for instance. Look at GSK, PFE, MRK, etc...they do a helluva a lot of good with the drugs they produce - think about it...the drugs they produce save lives. And yes, in order to develop these drugs there needs to be a profit motive. People need to make money. The chemists, the managers, the R & D teams...it costs money to develop these drugs and folks should be rewarded for their work. Am I happy that a few executives get such big payouts all the time. Not really. But I'm willing to accept the fact that big salaries for some top exec's might be a temporary flaw in our system that will most likely correct itself over time if given the opportunity. I'm not willing to sacrifice the hard work, the ingenuity, and creativity of all those that work for the pharmaceutical companies to have government come in an take over, or over regulate the industry.

Gregory said...

3. Just because our health care system isn't perfect, doesn't mean the "government option" is the way we should go. Government taking over anything means a reduction in our liberty. And history proves that when governments take over our liberties, life quality begins to move in a negative direction. I'm always up for ideas on how to improve our system, I just don't see how the government option answers our issues.

4. Everywhere in our lives where we have options, the quality of our lives improves. Think about the private sector for one moment...we have options to choose where to bank, where to live, what cell phone to use, what songs to put on our IPOD, what mate to choose, what school to go to, what car to drive, where to buy our gas, what doctor to choose, what job to take, whether to start a company, where to shop for groceries...and the list goes on and on. Why shouldn't I have options for health care? Am I a fan of BCBS being the monopoly in NC. ABSOLUTELY NOT. But with the system we exist within, it becomes difficult for other players in the industry to take part in the NC market. Why would I want to trade BCBS for a government run option? In a way, you are trading one monopoly for another. Goods and services only improve with competition, and I want to see all health insurers with equal access to the NC (and other states) market. That's the only way we're going to get improved service. I'm not equating cars with health care here, but it's the best example I've got right now.

Gregory said...

When I go buy a car, I have tons of choices on the make, the model, options, etc...The options are almost limitless, and I can pay $5K for a used car, or $50K for a new car. Each of the cars that I may buy has certain safety specifications on it that are mandated by the government, and that's fine. So long as those minimum specs are hit, then the manufactures can go in whatever direction they want. With health care, why wouldn't I want the same thing? I want to be able to choose from among the 1,700 or so insurance companies out there. I don't want my options limited to BCBS, nor do I want my options limited to some government program. Do you really think the government is going to give you good service? Do you really think they have an understanding of customer service? Do you really think government can design a system with products and services for every American? Are you willing to let government be a competitor, the judge, and a jury in a health care system. I'm willing to place my long term bets on the private sector, and not a few lawyers in DC...Do you really want Barney Frank, or John Boehner, designing your health insurance plan?


5. Unfortunately we don't live in a world where we get everything we want. Our government has limitations. The question I ask is, if you want your government option (single payer), how are you going to pay for it? Are you going to increase taxes? Are you going to cut other programs? It is absolutely impossible to create such a behemoth program without making some other, major changes in our government.

6. In all seriousness, I always wonder why folks look to the government to solve problems. As a conservative, I'm horrified when libs are in charge. And for those of you who are liberals, I'm sure you are horrified when conservatives are in charge. So the question remains...when we know for a fact that every 2 or 4, or 8 years the party we don't want in charge will be, why would we want to place such control in their hands?

We hear rhetoric from both sides of the aisle (this blog included) that talks of death panels, BIG PHARMA, etc...folks in large part are just screaming back and forth at one another without first listening, and thinking for a bit on what might actually work

susan s. said...

Gregor, when you are old enough to qualify for Medicare, remember that it's a government run healthcare program, and please don't apply.

After all, it has been going for 30 or 40 years thru liberals and conservatives and everyone knows that when governments change from liberals to conservatives medicare goes belly up every time.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

IT--precisely.

Ramonasvoices--welcome and thanks for stopping by! Your mouth to God's ear...

Gregory--thanks for commenting. Since you put so much effort into responding, I will try to comment on each of your issues:

1. Two points: First, if you don't believe healthcare is a right, then we really don't have much to say to each other. I think that any society that has the ability to offer a decent life to its citizens and does not is profoundly immoral and destined to fail. (I would apply that to many resource-rich countries that allow a handful of wealthy people to siphon off the benefits while the majority of citizens go wanting...)

Second, other countries with single-payer, or publicly funded, healthcare systems have much better healthcare than we do in the U.S.---so forgive me if I don't buy your argument that the U.S. private sector is the "best of all possible worlds" (to borrow from Candide). It isn't. Even a cursory search for FACTS (life expectancy, health outcomes, etc.) will show that.

I'd be interested to know, however, what YOUR healthcare situation is? Do you have health insurance? And if you do, is it public or private?

Wormwood's Doxy said...

2. The private sector doesn't get involved in doing research until they believe there is a profit to be made---even then, they often rely on government-funded research which has provided the basic "bench knowledge" for many, many conditions. (HIV/AIDS drugs are a prime example.)

I don't like knowing that my tax dollars were used to help create a situation where the CEO of Abbott Laboratories could make almost $28.3 million dollars in compensation in 2008. I don't like knowing that my tax dollars provided the research basis for drugs that have 20-year patents--which means they make lots of profits so those companies can pay their CEOs $20+ million a year...while many Americans have to choose between paying the rent, buying food, or purchasing the medicines they need.

You may think that's the market at work---I think it's obscene and highway robbery.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

3. Again, I will point you to all the other governments that find a way to provide high-quality healthcare to their citizens. The information is out there---you just have to go beyond Fox News to find it. (My mother lives in the U.K., and I have friends in Canada and Europe. None of them wants to move here and leave their government-sponsored healthcare. That tells me a lot...)

4. You cannot compare healthcare to shopping for a car. First, not having a car may inconvenience you greatly, but it won't kill you---not having healthcare just might.

Second, positing that the free market will take care of everything is just a ludicrous fallacy--one that has been debunked time and time again. I have no idea why conservatives cling to that false idol.

There are markets where no insurer will go, and people whom no insurer will touch. The government---which is ALL of US, not some nameless, faceless Evil Borg---is the only entity large enough to provide comprehensive coverage to ALL citizens. I think that's what government is there for--to protect and to provide services that individuals and the market cannot (or will not) provide.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

5. I'm fine with raising taxes for healthcare. I'm self-employed, and I'd probably pay LESS with a pure, single-payer plan than I do for BCBSNC's ridiculous offerings---but if it would prevent any more suffering and death I'd happily hand over more of my money to the government. Better that than handing it over to the CEOS of health insurance companies and Big Pharma.

6. What Susan said about Medicare and the "changing of the guard." We can vote them out. There is no accountability in the private sector on this issue--we can't vote out the executives of BCBSNC or the other health insurers, regardless of how wasteful or evil they are.

Again, echoing Susan, I would like all people who are constantly criticizing government to stop driving on government-funded roads, using government-funded schools/universities/libraries, accepting government-funded police and fire protection, drinking water that is kept clean and safe by government funding/oversight, or using drugs/medical treatments that were developed with government funding, etc. The hypocrisy and selfishness of those who would benefit from public dollars while denying that same benefit to others boggles my mind.

Doorman-Priest said...

You go girl!

Lapinbizarre said...

I came to this post late, I'm afraid, cross-checking after reading your excellent posts on Episcopal Café's newest Uganda thread, but you're dead right about the single payer option. I spent most of my first twenty-some years under a totally cost-free British Socialized system. Only now am I appreciating the cares that this must have lifted from the backs of my parents. It makes my blood boil, sixty years later, to see people literally dying - as an indigent friend of mine who turned 50 just this last weekend is currently doing of cancer - on account of the greed of the for-profit medical insurance juggernaut and its hirelings. As to raising taxes, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

Paul (A.) said...

IT wrote: "How bizarre it is that those with guvmint insurance (including Congress, or Medicaid) are so oppoesd to the option that anyone else should have it."

Sorta like some who have marriage, no?

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You're awesome.

I'm going to add this link to the bottom of the post you commented on today.

Saint Pat said...

Amen, sistah.

I'm sick of BC/BS and our whole perverted healthcare delivery system. We have got to stand up and demand real reform, including a gummint option.

Blue shield California said...

love you answer. agree with you.