(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)
Today, thousands of health insurance executives are gathering in San Francisco for their major industry convention. We thought that we would welcome them to town with a TV ad to go along with a greeting committee of hundreds of protesters.
The ad is called "Insurance Jive" and it features a nurse (actor Beth Broderick of "Lost", see her HuffPo piece on the ad) who – reminiscent of the Barbara Billingsley character in the 1980 movie "Airplane" – translates insurance jargon for a hospital patient and her husband.
"Insurance Jive" is based on the true story of Patsy Bates. Health Net canceled – or "rescinded" – Patsy's health insurance policy after this 52-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing Patsy to halt chemotherapy for several months while piling up $129,000 in medical bills.
A judge recently ordered Health Net to pay Patsy a whopping $9 million in mostly punitive damages.
But her victory is a rare blow to an industry that routinely seeks to profit at the expense – and physical well-being – of its customers. For example, according to the Los Angeles Times, Patsy's lawsuit revealed that Health Net had "linked cancellations to employee performance goals," an illegal policy that helped drive
more than $35 million in denied claims between 2003 and 2006.
Fortunately, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has initiated a lawsuit and criminal investigation into Health Net's decisions to drop, deny or delay health care.
Rocky Delgadillo is talking to these corporations in a language they can easily understand: "lawsuit". That's why we created "Insurance Jive" to spread the word about the City Attorney's helpful website for consumers where anyone can submit complaints for him to investigate and use for litigation.
The California Nurses Association and State Senator Sheila Kuehl have pledged to match the first $6,000 donated to place this powerful ad on the air in in San Francisco in the next 48 hours – during the health insurance convention.
Can you help us get it up on the air? Contribute here at ActBlue. We are just about to $5,000, even a $10 or $20 contribution would get us closer to meeting their challenge. If we exceed the match, we may be able to get this up on the air in Los Angeles as well.