Sen. Elizabeth Warren is exposing insurance companies as they bribe seniors into more expensive Medigap plans. Barbados PM Mia Mottley schooled a misled journalist on ‘third-world’ corruption.
Many real Progressives often speak about removing services and products essential for our well-being from the for-profit domain of the private sector. The pushback from Republicans and neoliberals is always fierce. They accuse those trying to protect the masses as communists or socialists. It is ironic since they are inadvertently equating doing good by society with those terms since, in fact, what Progressives are doing is making lives more livable and enjoyable for all.
Recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren exposed an insurance industry ploy to scam millions of dollars from seniors. Common Dreams reported the following.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a report Wednesday highlighting the splashy incentives—from luxury vacations to cash bonuses—that private insurance companies offer agents and brokers for enrolling seniors in potentially higher-cost Medigap plans.
Medigap is federally regulated supplemental health insurance offered by for-profit companies such as UnitedHealthcare, Humana, and Aetna.
According to Warren, the Medigap marketplace is rife with “incentive trips and other perks for brokers and agents” who—in pursuit of such rewards—could be motivated to “push seniors into the most expensive Medigap plans, regardless of whether those plans meet their needs.”
The senator found that the estimated 32 private companies that entice agents with vacations and other incentives to boost Medigap sales provided the supplemental insurance to around 6.6 million people in the U.S. in 2021 and raked in nearly $16 billion in premiums from beneficiaries that year.
Warren acknowledged that her report “may underestimate the prevalence of incentives and rewards in the Medigap insurance industry” given that insurers and third-party companies are often not transparent about their incentive practices.
In a statement, Warren lamented the weak federal and state regulations that are giving insurance giants “free rein to scam millions of seniors in Medigap, offering agents lavish vacations to steer unknowing beneficiaries into more expensive plans.”
“Regulators must act to make sure seniors aren’t getting fleeced,” said Warren, who noted that around 40% of Medigap enrollees had less than $40,000 in annual income in 2018.
The fiduciary responsibility of any private corporation is to maximize its profits, shareholder value, and their bonuses. There is only one way to do that; they must extract as much as they can from their customers. That is OK for products and services that are not essential. If the corporations charge too much, then customers will not purchase until they drop their prices. That is not possible in healthcare, energy, and other basic needs.
Barbados PM stuns reporter with her answer to corruption in the ‘third world.’
Our Western reporters buy into the tale that ‘third world’ nations are in the state that they are in because of a type of corruption inherent to them. The reality is that the corruption in third-world states cannot possibly match that in the rich nations. The only difference is that corruption in the West is codified as legal.
“The elephant in the room, what a lot of Western climate diplomats tell me, is that leaders like yourself also carry a responsibility,” journalist Erika Bjerstrom asked. “Why are vulnerable countries still so debt-stricken? Why is there still corruption … what is your response to that?”
The Prime Minister asked the reporter if she really wanted the answer. When a Caribbean woman asks you if you really want the answer, you should prepare yourself as it means a strong response that will shock you is coming.
Sweden’s SVT reporter Erika Bjerstrom should have done her homework challenging Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
“Okay,” Prime Minister Mottley replied. “Why is it that every time we talk about countries from the South, the first allegation is corruption? Last time I checked, in the USA, and the UK, and Europe, they’re riddled with corruption but nobody says that they’re not capable of achieving their objectives because of corruption.
Why is it that we are not talking about the fact that these countries became independent having allowed those countries that colonized them to extract significant portions of their wealth? Such that we had no proper housing, no proper education, no proper health care systems, no proper legal systems, no proper—across the whole stream—and certainly having to do with building social capital like community development and cultural enterprises.
And what has happened, is therefore that we have spent the time since independence trying to give our people what the global North has taken for granted, and has supported by the extrication of centuries of wealth to give their people—out of our blood, sweat, and tears.
Now when our blood, sweat, and tears finances the industrial revolution, and the industrial revolution then causes a climate crisis, and then I have to pay for the consequences of the climate crisis because of the industrial revolution, financed by our blood, sweat, and tears. Then I think that they have no moral authority to tell me anything about the financing of the climate, or about why we don’t have enough.”
Instead of digesting the rather complex and complete answer, the reporter decided to concentrate on a false facade instead of an intellectual follow-up.
“Is it anger over this,” the reporter asked. “That fuels you?”
The Prime Minister remained on point.
“Anger?” the PM asked. “Absolutely not. Unfairness, lack of justice. We’re not angry. I’m just disappointed that humankind wants to believe that there’s one world for a set of people and another world for another set.”
She did not miss a beat. There is so much to unpack. Bernie Sanders said it during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. The business model of Wall Street is fraud. And Wall Street dictates the economic model of the Western world.
If you have any doubt, just look beneath the facade. Look at our healthcare system, our energy sector, and many other areas where what we have is legalized thievery. A suit and tie on someone stealing do not make them any less a thug than the common convenience store thief — just a better-dressed one.
We discussed un-slaving our minds during our last show. That is what it will take to get out of the indoctrination the system programmed into our minds. It is for that reason that the likes of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Republican politicians, and neoliberals want to prevent critical learning. When we unchain our minds, we will see much clearer and become better people, not only for us but for the rest of the world as we atone for much.,
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