Insurance Regulation

Jo Godfrey was insured by Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurance companies. She began having breathing trouble, repeatedly diagnosed as simple bronchitis by Cigna doctors. Her condition worsened; an out-of-network doctor consultation confirmed her suspicions. She had cancer, and had for almost two years. The signs were evident in previous tests Cigna doctors ignored, and they refused needed treatment after her diagnosis. Cigna owns their own hospitals and staff, and this questions their motivation behind denial of care. Denial of care could have killed Mrs. Godfrey. Do we really want a for-profit company making life-or-death decisions?

With their $20 billion revenue and $12 million CEO, Cigna, ignoring people they’ve harmed, defines success solely by profit – representing the attitude of an entire industry: profit over patient. The less insurance spends on care, the more profit they reap. In the last decade, insurance profits have risen over 400%, while out-of-pocket medical expenses have risen 93%. Wendell Potter, former Cigna PR who left in disgust, says: “Our citizens have died… so that a very few… could become obscenely rich.” There’s nothing wrong with profit, but at whose expense?

Insurance monopolies are shielded against damages for wrongful death or injury through legal loopholes, and they are also exempt from federal anti-trust laws. These immunities need to be amended. Or more people will be hurt. Godfrey started United Patients of America to spotlight abuse and support reform. We must demand accountability and regulations for monopolies profiteering from people’s health. People over money. Always.

Anna Grady