Daily archives: October 15th, 2009

Felony? Really? Woman Faces 15 Years in Prison For Cutting Line At Walmart

Released to her parents 45 minutes after being arrested to get medical treatment?

Misdemeanor charges dismissed, but felony charges stand?

Yes, there are more than two sides here. Listed carefully.

Olbermann: Insurer Ends Health Program, Calls High-Cost Patients “Dogs”

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Here’s the beginning of the story from the Washington Times:

Ian Pearl has fought for his life every day of his 37 years. Confined to a wheelchair and hooked to a breathing tube, the muscular dystrophy victim refuses to give up.

But his insurance company already has.

Legally barred from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims, the New York-based insurer simply canceled lines of coverage altogether in entire states to avoid paying high-cost claims like Mr. Pearl’s.

In an e-mail, one Guardian Life Insurance Co. executive called high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl "dogs" that the company could "get rid of."

A federal court quickly ruled that the company’s actions were legal, so on Dec. 1, barring an order by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Pearl will lose his benefits.

His medical treatment costs $1 million a year.

Most of that is for ’round the clock, in-home nursing care – for operation of his ventilator, hourly breathing treatments and continuous intravenous medication.

(Corrected paragraph:) A Guardian spokesman said policies such as Mr. Pearl’s – which offered unlimited home nursing – had simply become too expensive for new small-business customers to buy, and that even Medicaid and Medicare do not cover 24-hour home nursing. His parents, Warren and Susan Pearl of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said their health insurance premiums had risen over the years to $3,700 a month.

You can contact Guardian Life Insurance Company here.

And now for your moment of Zen…

President & CEO Dennis J. Manning touts Guardian Life’s financial strength on the company’s Web site:

Two Rating Upgrades 
Guardian earned upgrades from two major credit rating organizations in 2008, a distinction that no other major life insurer can claim. We were one of only five life insurers upgraded by Standard & Poor’s, which raised our rating to AA+ (Very Strong). Additionally, noting Guardian’s “superior capitalization,” “successful execution of key strategic initiatives,” and our “comprehensive risk management strategy,” A.M. Best Company awarded us its highest rating, A++ (Superior). Only six other life insurers received ratings upgrades from A.M. Best last year.

Operating on Firm Financial Footing 
Guardian generated good financial results last year, in spite of challenging economic conditions. Pre-tax statutory income – the primary way we build capital and surplus – was $267 million. Capital, which serves to cushion potential adverse events and functions as a source of continuing future income, was $4.3 billion at year end. And our capitalization ratio, a standard industry measure of capital strength, was 14.7%. We believe this ratio is among the highest in the life insurance industry.

Record Dividend Payout
Guardian’s solid financial results, supported by a prudent investment strategy, allowed us to avoid many of the losses suffered by so many other companies and put us in a strong competitive position, which we leveraged to benefit policyholders. We declared the largest ever dividend payout in our 149-year history, paying a record $723 million dividend to policyholders in 2009, $60 million more than we did in 2008.

Good for them.

Remember 37-year-old Ian Pearl on December 1, 2009,

Ramiro Guevara, 17, Shot and Killed in Chicago Club

Sad news out of Chicago.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A 17-year-old boy was shot to death this morning in a Logan Square neighborhood nightclub, police said.

Police were notified about the shooting at about 2 a.m. inside the V Live night club at 2047 N. Milwaukee Avenue, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

Ramiro Guevara got into an argument with another man inside the nightclub, and the other man pulled out a handgun and started firing, Alfaro said. Alfaro said Guevara was shot in the head, but a police source said Guevara was shot in the back.

The shooter fled the nightclub, and no one was in custody this morning, Alfaro said.

As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. If anyone knows anything, please step up and contact the Chicago Police Department. You can also use your cellphone to TEXT a crime TIP.

Read more.

Senator Roland Burris Definitively Favors Government Health Plan

Washington, D.C.– United States Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) wants health care reform with a government health insurance plan and he’s willing to fight for it, says the Wall Street Journal.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Wall Street Journal named him as one of six senators to watch in the coming days as the Senate’s no-public-option bill is merged with the House’s public-option bill.

The other five senators are Republicans and conservative Democrats averse to a public option. Burris, the Journal says, is the one senator out of 100 most insistent that the final bill have a public option:

"The Wild Card: Illinois Democratic Sen. Roland Burris. Mr. Burris has announced his intention to oppose any bill without a public option. . . . Because he isn’t standing for re-election, Mr. Burris has little to lose," the article states.

And from the Wall Street Journal:

The Wild Card: Illinois Democratic Sen. Roland Burris. Mr. Burris has announced his intention to oppose any bill without a public option, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and John Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), among others, have also voiced a strong desire for a public option. The message: Democrats at their peril shift to the right to court centrists and Republicans. Because he isn’t standing for re-election, Mr. Burris has little to lose. Democrats hope liberals will support a health overhaul in the end, but they have scant margin for error.