A new video puts denied health insurance claims on United Health Care CEO Stephen Hemsley’s doorstep.
The video, made by Brave News Films’ Robert Greenwald, intercuts stories of people suffering because of denied claims with images Hemsley’s fancy homes, along with details about how much money Hemsley’s got ($744,232,068 in unexercised stock options, for example).
Holly Bailey says in the video that United Health Care refused to pay for medicine she couldn’t live without.
“They kept telling my local pharmacy…’Oh we’re just waiting for one more letter, or we’re just waiting for one more script, and then we’ll start paying,’” Bailey said. “This went on for six months, and December 4th both the pharmacy and I received a letter from United Health Care saying they deemed it medically unnecessary and that they were not going to pay any of it.
Bernie Sanders, the iconoclastic US senator from Vermont, is launching his own series of weekly “webisodes” where he will answer questions from constituents.
Sanders, the only avowed Socialist in Congress, is partnering with Brave New Films in the venture, called “Senator Sanders Unfiltered.”
A trailer shows Sanders railing against greed and economic inequality, arguing that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing too much money, and assailing insurance companies for lobbying Congress to stop healthcare overhaul that provides universal, affordable coverage.
The first webisode will be available on his Senate website on Monday, then subsequent ones regularly on Thursdays.
Constituents can submit video questions via Twitter on twitvid.com by using the #sanders tag, and Sanders’ office is encouraging them to share the trailer video via Facebook and other social networking sites.
CLEARLAKE – Remember the quagmire of Vietnam? Remember the quagmire that is our military operation in Iraq? Remember the costs in lives and pain on both sides? Are you ready to do it all over again?
The fine documentary, “Rethink Afghanistan” – which is being made and released as a series in “real time” – urges you and every other US citizen to think twice, or three times, before we send our money and our family members into that wild and forbidding country. We will screen at least parts one through four.
Robert Greenwald, the respected director of such films as “Iraq for Sale” and “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” is asking critically important questions about the wisdom of conducting any US military operations at all in Afghanistan. And he’s listening to the answers of many experts from Afghanistan itself, and from Pakistan (Afghanistan’s deeply unstable and nuclear-armed neighbor).
He’s asking expert journalists and those who know the country well. He’s asking experts who know exactly how much the citizens of Montgomery, Alabama will pay to bomb people in Afghanistan. He’s also gone there repeatedly to film what’s happening – and as soon as he has more film and more information, he puts it together and sends it out. That’s why it’s in “real time.”
This film doesn’t look back, with intelligent and informed regret years later, telling us what mistakes were made. This film shows us what’s happening right now and says, in essence, do not do it, and here’s exactly why.
“I spend 40 percent of my time away from my patients doing paperwork and getting prior authorizations,” said Jim King, MD, a family physician in Selmer, Tenn. “We need to start taking the barriers that are between me and my patients away.”
At the same time American people were unwittingly forced to ‘bail out’ banks and insurance companies to the tune of 11 trillion dollars, those same companies were giving themselves a reported $33 Billion dollars in bonuses.
These catastrophically corrupt financial and medical systems are broken and apparently those who represent the common good are not going to fix it alone.
Activist and hero Robert Greenwald is doing something about it and you can too. His company Brave New Films, is affording Americans a way to gather forces and expose toxic tumors in what we wrongly term (in our oh so accepted double speak) the ‘health care’ system. It is in fact a sick care system. It doesn’t work for the majority of Americans. As countries go for health care, we are very near the bottom of the pile.
Can 450,000 doctors who are dealing with the medical and insurance system every day, be wrong? The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and Herndon Alliance (a nonpartisan coalition of more than 200 health-care provider organizations including the AARP, Mayo Clinic and Families USA) want health care reform.
The two groups are natural and historical allies. But the Feminist Majority has now endorsed President Obama’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan — arguing that the administration’s new strategy is necessary to prevent the return of the brutal oppression of women by the Taliban regime.
The Afghan Women’s Mission, along with an associated Afghan feminist group, contends that more troops and more fighting will only result in further casualties on both sides and fuel the already-flourishing insurgency.
[C]oalition troops are combat forces and are there to fight a war, not to preserve peace… Women always disproportionately suffer the effects of war, and to think that women’s rights can be won with bullets and bloodshed is a position dangerous in its naïveté.
Kolhatkar, in a subsequent interview with the Huffington Post, added that the withdrawal of U.S. troops would actually “take away the rationale of the Taliban: the foreign occupiers.”
Feminist Majority founder Ellie Smeal and board member Helen Cho responded in turn, writing that “recently these terrorists have destroyed hundreds of girls schools, killed journalists, local women’s leaders and killed women teachers in front of their students.”
“If the U.S. was to pull out of Afghanistan,” they warned, “the United States would be once again breaking its promise to the Afghan people, and the country would likely fall under Taliban control.”
George W. Bush used the plight of the women of Afghanistan as justification for invasion, and afterward trumpeted their freedom as a major success. But day-to-day life for Afghan women has not improved much, despite nominal representation in government. Domestic violence, self-harm, and the US-backed president Hamid Karzai signed into law a repressive act that effectively legalized marital rape. Afghanistan’s Chief Justice has said that women have two rights: the right to obey their husbands, and the right to pray–though they do not have the right to pray in a mosque with men.
In this video, the fifth in the Rethink Afghanistan series, Afghan women speak out against a buildup of US troops, noting that the militarization only legitimizes the Taliban as an opposition force. Rather than supporting military escalation, the women of Afghanistan can use your donations to help themselves. As Orzala Ashraf of the Afghan Women’s Network says in the film, “If I cannot liberate myself, no one from outside can liberate me.”
Check out earlier videos on Afghanistan from The Nation and Brave New Films
With the bodies stacking up and the national treasury being sucked dry, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy took a powerful stand against the war on terror in 2007.
The freshman congressman from northwestern Connecticut joined 70 of his colleagues in a letter to President Bush pledging to vote against any war funding bill that didn’t include a strategy and timetable for pulling American troops out of Iraq. He was the only Connecticut representative to do so.
Many Murphy supporters back home assumed he would apply the same standards to funding the war in Afghanistan.
They assumed wrong.
Last week, Murphy and the other members of the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation all but rubber-stamped President Obama’s request for $80 billion more to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The money for Iraq comes with strict benchmarks for progress and follows Obama’s timeline for withdrawing all troops by the end of 2011. The money for Afghanistan amounts to a blank check, anti-war activists say, just the kind Murphy and his Democratic colleagues opposed when George W. Bush was commander-in-chief.
Civilians continue to be killed by American and coalition forces as the war in Afghanistan stretches into its eighth year with no end in sight. The civilian casualties have gone from the realm of tragedy and have now become frequent enough to turn the population against the United States in a war President Obama and congressional Democrats have escalated over the last several months.
Earlier this month, Dr. Roshnak Wardak, an Afghani member of parliament who has lived in both countries,told the Huffington Postthat the attacks inside Afghanistan have been devastating to U.S. credibility.
“We became tired from these attacks. Every day there is discussion in the parliament,” she said. “I’m against this kind of operation, very much against.”
The bombings are costing the United States the support of the civilian population, said Wardak, an independent not affiliated with a party who described herself as a moderate. “Every time this bombardment happens by drone, tomorrow we discuss this matter in the parliament. And I’m so sorry that when we discuss this matter, American country and their leadership, their soldiers, they are losing their popularity among the M.P.s and also among, especially, the people. Very much they are losing their popularity,” she said.
A new short film, to be released Thursday by Brave New Films and provided to the Huffington Post, interviews victims of those bombings. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with another $100 billion, over the objections of an antiwar faction of Democrats.