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Author Topic: Thought Many Would Find This Interesting  (Read 861 times)

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Offline tednlou2

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Thought Many Would Find This Interesting
« on: April 26, 2012, 12:38:42 AM »
My best friend is studying to be a respiratory therapist.  His teacher/professor gave him the assignment of doing a slide presentation on PCP pneumonia.  It was interesting to go over all his research with him.  He was surprised I knew as much as I do.  I still have not told him my status.  I think he got a little suspicious that I knew the names of the drugs used.  I was glad to see they were learning about PCP in detail, so they could apply that knowledge later.  Anyway, I was surprised to learn his teacher/professor (not sure her title) is Dr. Linda Peeno.  She was featured in Michael Moore's documentary, "Sicko."  She testified before Congress about how she worked for insurance companies such as Humana, which is headquartered here in Louisville.  She told Congress that she was responsible for at least one death.  It was her job to find any way to deny payment.  She described it as a game and that game made her a six-figure salary. 

After he gave his presentation on PCP pneumonia, she discussed with the students how they would deny coverage for AIDS patients in the late 80's and early 90's.  I didn't know this (and don't know if this is still on applications), but when customers would fill out applications for insurance, they would be asked whether they were homosexual or ever had homosexual sex.  He said that she said they would go back and look at the applications for anyone presenting with HIV/AIDS or for illnesses like PCP.  If they had claimed they were heterosexual on the application, they would use that to deny payment, saying that they lied and also engaged in high risk activity.  He said that she said that they would go back and recoup payments already made to doctors, so the docs would then bill the patients for those fees.

I wasn't surprised a health insurance company would do something like this, but I kept asking him whether he's sure he heard it correctly.  It was just hard to believe that an insurance company could base payment on whether a person was heterosexual or homosexual.  He said they did it by saying you lied on the application about your sexuality--being in a high risk group.  But, I was surprised they could even ask that question.  But, this was the late 80's and early 90's.  And, how would they prove you lied?  A person could have had their first homosexual experience after filling out the form.  And, how would they prove you got HIV through homosexual sex?  He said that she said a person with HIV/AIDS was assumed to be homosexual and engaging in high risk activity.  They could deny you, and it would be a huge battle to fight it.  An AIDS patient, who is very ill, probably wouldn't have the strength to fight it.  They most likely would let it go and end up bankrupt.  Or, in those days, they would be dead. 

So, I am a little skeptical whether he heard all this correctly.  However, I know these kind of practices happened and still happen all the time.  So, perhaps I shouldn't be that skeptical.  I now want to talk to her myself.  I would love to confirm with her what they did with HIV/AIDS patients, and whether he really did hear all that correctly.  Does anyone have any experience with this or heard anything like this?  Did they ask about a person's sexuality back then?  Do they still?  I can't imagine they could get away with this today--denying care based on an answer about sexuality.

Here is a clip of her testimony to Congress in 1996.  She doesn't mention the situation with HIV/AIDS patients.  Well, at least not in this clip.  I would like to find her full testimony to see whether she discussed this.  I suppose it may be in the C-SPAN archives. 



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