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Medical Students, HCAN March on Blue Cross in Chicago

Date: 
10/23/2009

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and Health Care for America Now (HCAN) joined in demanding a new future for the health care system – one that does not put the insurance company between doctor and patient. 

“Medical students regularly see the destructive actions of the private insurance industry while training in hospitals – the denials, the second-guessing of diagnoses and therapies,” says Anthony Cheng, Board Member of the Northwestern School of Medicine Chapter of AMSA.  “As doctors, we want to spend our time discussing the best treatments for our patients, not on complicated insurance forms and convoluted regulations, or wrestling with insurance bureaucrats to get approval.”

“Frankly, it wastes time and money, and too often results in delayed or outright denial of care for our patients,” said Cheng. “As medical students, we want health care reform to streamline the system.  That means insurance companies have to get out of the way of our treatments and of health care reform."

This week, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association released a report predicting “premium increases of $1,500 for single coverage and $3,300 for family coverage” under the Finance Committee bills.  At the same time, Blue Cross and 9 other health care insurers produced $59 billion in net earning between 2000 and 2008, Blue Cross’ last CEO raked in $10.3 million last year, and the share of premium dollars going to patient care plummeted from 95% in 1993 to 81% in 2007.  How can Blue Cross continue to bring in record profits, while complaining about reform hurting their bottom line?

“Blue Cross is fighting the public health insurance option, yet they tell patients they have rescinded to join SCHIP, a government plan they administer,” stated John Gaudette, HCAN Illinois organizer.  “It is time for Blue Cross to stop maximizing profit on the backs of tax payers and victims.”

Protestors demanded that insurance companies:

  • Allow physicians to practice medicine – and cease their practice of denying treatments and procedures and delaying care that has been prescribed by the patient’s physician

  • Put the health of the American people before their profits and stop lobbying against reform, especially the public health insurance option.