On the News With Thom Hartmann: Insurance Companies Are Trying to Cheat Customers Out of More Money, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Insurance companies are trying to cheat customers out of more money; after using our commons to build their fortunes, the super-rich are abandoning America; Sen. Rand Paul is very upset that he got called out for plagiarism; and more.


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Surprise, surprise… Insurance companies are trying to cheat customers out of more money. Since the start of Obamacare, we’ve heard various reports of companies canceling insurance policies, and charging customers hundreds of dollars more each month to continue coverage. Well, it turns out that many of those cancellation letters were misleading, and failed to mention that customers could find better policies at lower prices on a healthcare exchange. A special report by Talking Points Memo found specific examples of insurance companies contacting people before the October 1st start date, and trying to lock them in to higher priced plans than they could find on an exchange. The companies warned customers that their plans were being canceled and offered them new, higher-priced plans, but made no mention of healthcare exchanges, or subsidies that people could qualify for under Obamacare. One of the women interviewed by TPM would have had to pay more than $1,000 a month for the new plan offered by her insurance company, and it offered bare minimum coverage with a $6,300 deductible. After logging on to her state’s insurance exchange, the Seattle resident found a plan for $80 dollars a month with a $250 dollar deductible. When TPM asked her insurance company why they were using such deceptive methods, a spokesman just said that customers know they have other options. Although it’s not clear how many of the cancellation letters being received throughout our country are a result of the same dishonest tactics, it’s likely that many other companies are pulling the same scam. These cancellations aren’t because of Obamacare, they are simply insurance companies trying to rip off more people while they still have a chance. This is the exact reason why we needed the healthcare law to begin with. Insurance companies will always put corporate greed over people’s health and wallets. And, that’s the reason why we should continue to push for single payer, Medicare for all, and get the profit out of our healthcare.

In screwed news… After using our commons to build their fortunes, the super-rich are abandoning America. Since 2008, wealth in our country has grown from $47 trillion to $72 trillion, but our society has gained nothing as a result of that increase. There’s been virtually no infrastructure, no increase in tax revenue, and no contribution to our society, because the wealthy aren’t supporting this nation, and corporate taxes have been cut by half. In addition, for the first time in our nation’s history, the rich think they don’t need American middle-class workers. Globalization has allowed them to build factories in China, India, or some third-world country. The super-wealthy use the benefits of our commons to make money, and then find tax loopholes to deprive our nation from at least $300 billion dollars a year in tax revenue. Despite using our airports, roads, police, and justice system, the wealthy continue to believe that they made their fortunes without any help from American society. And, after they’ve hoarded all their cash, many are simply moving to tax-haven nations to avoid contributing at all to the nation that made them rich. Yet, they have the audacity to call us the takers…

In the best of the rest of the news…

President Obama issued an executive order last Friday, aimed at helping local communities prepare for climate change. The order is part of the president’s larger climate plan, and it will encourage local planners to consider droughts, floods, and super-storms when building new infrastructure. The president’s order also set up the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which is a task force of local leaders who will help the federal government support communities dealing with climate change. The plan will make it easier to increase building standards, protect natural storm barriers like wetlands and dunes, ensure local communities have access to climate data, and build on climate changes plans already in place for federal agencies. While we must do more to prevent further damage to our environment, it’s important that we’re also prepared for the extreme weather that climate change has already created.

According to RadCast.org, radiation levels in the South West are coming down from their recent rise, but levels near the East Coast are still volatile. Gainsville, Georgia is seeing levels of 51 counts per minute, and spiking at 75. Robbinsville, New Jersey is experiencing spikes of 63, and Salisbury, Massachusetts is hitting 72. As alarming as those radiation rates may be, they are nothing compared to the sudden increase near the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Levels near that plant are hitting over 16,000 counts per minute – up 45 percent from last week. Remember, the alert level is just 100 counts per minute, and radiation at Fukushima is already 160 times that level. And, we can only imagine how high these levels may rise when TEPCO starts moving spent fuel rods at the end of this week. The corporate media may ignore these important statistics, but RadCast.org is working hard to keep us informed.

And finally… Senator Rand Paul is very upset that he got called out for plagiarism. After MSNBC host Rachel Maddow pointed out that the Kentucky Senator used exact language from Wikipedia during a speech, Paul was determined to defend his honor. During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” the senator seemed confused about what constitutes plagiarism, and said, “I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters.” And, he explained that his ideal solution would be to challenge Maddow and others to a duel – as in settling a dispute by gunfight. Paul said, “you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.” We’ve know that Republicans want to go back to the past – but now we know that when they hail the glory days of the 50s, it’s the 1850s that they’d like to go back to.

And that’s the way it is today – Monday, November 4, 2013. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.