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New TV Ad: Look No Further Than the Private Insurance Industry to Find Real ‘Death Panels’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: August 21, 2009

New TV Ad: Look No Further Than the Private Insurance Industry to Find Real ‘Death Panels’

Ad from Americans United for Change Features Emotional Congressional Testimony from Insurance Industry Whistleblower Linda Peeno
Click Here to View “Real Death Panels”

Washington D.C. – Americans United for Change unveiled a new television ad today called “Real Death Panels” that turns the table on the thoroughly debunked myth advanced by conservative politicians and pundits -- that ‘death panels’ are part of President Obama’s proposal for health insurance reform – by spotlighting the real death panels that exist in America today: private insurance companies that routinely deny claims made by policy holders or refuse to issue policies altogether, citing “pre-existing conditions,” with sometimes deadly consequences. The features footage of congressional testimony from Dr. Linda Peeno, former Blue Cross/Blue Shield medical director, who on May 30, 1996 testified before the House Subcommittee on Health and Environment that “I’m haunted by the thousands of pieces of paper in which I have written that deadly word: denied.”

See script below for “Real Death Panels” below which will air next week nationally on CNN and MSNBC, as well as on local cable in the Nation’s Capital.

Jeremy Funk, of Americans United for Change: “Conservative politicians and pundits will do anything to keep the “death panels” fantasy alive as part of an unscrupulous and concerted effort to kill health insurance reform. But where’s the hysteria from these same conservatives over the real death panels that exist right now in America with the big insurance companies denying millions of claims made by policy holders or refusing to issue policies altogether, citing “pre-existing’’ conditions? As we learned from the personal experience of insurance industry whistleblower Linda Peeno, this routine behavior by the big insurance companies can have deadly consequences.”

A recent report from U.S. Health and Human Services entitled “Coverage Denied: How the Current Health Insurance System Leaves Millions Behind; “Pre-Existing Conditions” Affect Millions of Americans” found:
- A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults 5 – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years.6
- In another survey, one in 10 people with cancer said they could not obtain health coverage, and six percent said they lost their coverage, because of being diagnosed with the disease.7
- It is still legal in nine states for insurers to reject applicants who are survivors of domestic violence, citing the history of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.8
- Even when offering coverage, insurers can exclude whole categories of illnesses related to a pre-existing condition. For example, someone with a pre-existing condition of hay fever could have any respiratory system disease – such as bronchitis or pneumonia – excluded from coverage.9

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“Real Death Panel”
Americans United For Change
TV (:30)

SCRIPT
ANNCR: Their lies about phony Death Panels have all been proven false...

Video: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Glenn Beck

CG: Sarah Palin: Concerning the “Death Panels”

Fox News: “Obama Plan” Just One Big Death Panel?

"No 'death panel in health care bill.' – AP
“Misinformation” – ABC News
“Crazy” – Conservative Columnist David Brooks

ANNCR: Unfortunately, there are REAL death panels in American…

CG: Unfortunately, there are REAL death panels in America…
LINDA PEENO: In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I denied a man a necessary operation that would have saved his life and thus caused the death of a man.

And I’m haunted by the thousands of pieces of paper in which I have written that deadly word: DENIED.

CG: Linda Peeno, Fmr. Humana medical examiner, Fmr. Blue Cross/Blue Shield medical director

ANNCR: We need health insurance reform now.

CG: America Needs Health Insurance Reform.

Paid for by Americans United for Change.