Thursday, November 5, 2009
Shadegg: Why did Democrats Agree to Give America's Biggest Insurance Companies Immunity When They Injure or Kill Workers in a Union or Employer Plan?
The American People Deserve to Know
Why did Democrats Agree to Give America’s Biggest Insurance Companies Immunity When They Injure or Kill Workers in a Union or Employer Plan?
WASHINGTON , D.C. – Today, Congressman John Shadegg (AZ-03) issued the following statement regarding the Pelosi and Baucus health care bills:
“During the Patients Bill of Rights debate, Senator Ted Kennedy fought on behalf of victims like Florence Corcoran. He met and talked with Florence Corcoran and championed her cause. Senator Kennedy, at that time, said: ‘Patients should have the right to hold their [Insurance Company] accountable in court when its negligence causes the injury or death of a patient….No other industry in America enjoys immunity from accountability for its actions, and the insurance industry does not deserve it either.’ [Emphasis Added] Senator Ted Kennedy, (D-MA) 2001.
“Similarly, current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: ‘Let's talk about a real person. Florence Corcoran is an example of the need to hold [Insurance Companies] accountable. She lost a baby because the [Insurance Company] refused the doctor's request for hospitalization in the last days of her pregnancy. The [Insurance Company] would pay for only 10 hours of at-home care. During the final months of pregnancy, when no one was on duty, her baby went into distress and died. Because Florence received health care coverage through an employer, they had no recourse or remedy for the death of this baby. The [Insurance Company] was not responsible under the law….’ [Emphasis Added] Senator Harry Reid, (D-NV) July 15, 1999
“In July of this year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: ‘It is well known to the public that the health insurance companies are the problem… The glory days are coming to an end for the health insurance industry…This is about…educating about what is in the bill. Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure…They are the villains.’ [Emphasis Added] Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) July 2009
“The American people deserve to know, given these statements, why Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and Max Baucus cut a deal with America ’s biggest insurance companies and quietly put in their bills language that does exactly what Ted Kennedy, and Harry Reid condemned, giving insurance companies immunity when they injure or kill employees or union members.
“As the late Senator Kennedy, in whose name these bills are being advanced said: ‘No other industry in America enjoys immunity from accountability for its actions, and the insurance industry does not deserve it either.’
“In Mrs. Corcoran’s case, the very case Senator Kennedy and Leader Reid talked about, the court ruled that Mr. and Mrs. Corcoran could recover nothing for the wrongful death of their son because Section 514 of ERISA prohibits any recovery. Specifically the court said:
‘For all the foregoing reasons, we find that ERISA [S. 514] pre-empts the Corcorans’ tort claim against United and that the Corcorans may not recover damages for emotional distress under ERISA.’
“Yet, on page 49 of H.R. 3200, on page 140 of Pelosi’s current bill, H.R. 3962, and on page 56 of the Baucus bill, rather than repealing Section 514 of ERISA and giving the Corcorans and thousands of other victims like them a remedy, the Pelosi and Reid bills preserve, protect, and extend Section 514 leaving millions of potential workers and union members with no remedy if they are injured or killed by the denial of coverage by a union or employer health care plan:
“Page 140 of H.R. 3962 reads: ‘Nothing in paragraphs (1) or (2) shall be construed as affecting the application of section 514 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.’
“Page 56 of the Baucus bill is identical: ‘(3) Nothing in this part shall be construed to affect or modify the provisions of section 514 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 with respect to group health plans.’
“Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, tell America why the insurance industry is given immunity from accountability for its actions in your bills.”
Posted by Rachel Alexander at Thursday, November 05, 2009