The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for June 19th, 2009

“I denied a man an operation, and caused his death”

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Former Humana and Blue Cross/Blue Shield cost-cutter Dr. Linda Peeno confesses “I know how managed care kills and maims patients,” and how her salary skyrocketed when she began cutting care that patients needed.

Think this is an exception? That this isn’t how the system was meant to be? You may be surprised when the video cuts to a tape-recording from a historic White House.

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Here’s a written record of what she said in that hearing on May 30, 1996:

I wish to begin by making a public confession: In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I caused the death of a man.

Although this was known to many people, I have not been taken before any court of law or called to account for this in any professional or public forum. In fact, just the opposite occurred: I was “rewarded” for this. It bought me an improved reputation in my job, and contributed to my advancement afterwards. Not only did I demonstrate I could indeed do what was expected of me, I exemplified the “good” company doctor: I saved a half million dollars.

I contend that “managed care,” as we currently know it, is inherently unethical in its organization and operation. Furthermore, I maintain that we have an industry which can exist only through flagrant ethical violations against individuals and the public.

Some insist that health care funding is best left in the hands of private industry. I say the for-profit insurance industry is—by definition—committed to its own wealth, not to America’s health.

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