Friday, June 19, 2009

Reverse Juneteenth

In Texas, the notice that slaves were free arrived on Juneteenth, celebrated today. It looks like our media is slipping into a slavery of its own, bowing to special interests.

Since I had watched it on CSpan, I really didn't notice until I was looking at commentary by former Clinton staffer Paul Begala, that the hearings on insurance malpractice received almost no attention in the press. Testimony by victims of insurance company cutoffs just when they needed treatment, and testimony by insurance company representatives that it would continue, were frightening. Your librul media yawned.

Beaton testified before a House subcommittee this week. So did other Americans who thought they had insurance but got the shaft. As Karen Tumulty of Time magazine (who has been the journalistic conscience of health care coverage) wrote, other witnesses included:

"Peggy Raddatz, whose brother Otto Raddatz lost his insurance coverage right before he was scheduled to receive an expensive stem-cell transplant to treat his lymphoma. Why? Because Fortis Insurance Company discovered his doctor had found gall stones and an aneurysm on a CT scan -- conditions that had nothing to do with his cancer, that never bothered him and that he wasn't even aware of. And Jennifer Wittney Horton of Los Angeles, California, whose coverage was canceled because she had been taking a drug for irregular menstruation. Now, she can't get coverage anywhere else. 'Since my rescission, I have had to take jobs that I do not want, and put my career goals on hold to ensure that I can find health insurance,' she told the subcommittee."

The subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan, called the hearing to highlight the obnoxious and unethical practice called rescission. His researchers produced performance reviews of insurance company bureaucrats who were praised and rewarded for kicking people off their coverage.

Then Stupak asked three health insurance executives the big question: Will your company pledge to end the practice of rescission except in cases of intentional fraud?

All three health insurance executives said no.

It was as dramatic as congressional testimony gets. Yet it got no airtime on the networks, nor, as far as I can tell, on cable news, although did run a story. Time's Tumulty was all over it, as was Lisa Girion of The Lost Angeles Times. But the story did not make The New York Times.

The things the public has shown the most concern went by the board, while every move of Brangelina got full court press.

This week saw Dan Froomkin - the only redeeming feature at aggressively ignorant WaPo - fired.

I really could not hit on the WaPo site again, and am becoming persuaded that our media is as much under the gun of Mighty Insurance as the 'moderate' legislators. The fight to get health care is a grim one, and it will have to be carried on by bloggers. The bought and paid for media isn't up to the job.

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