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For 65 years Kaiser has attempted to run a National Health Care Program for the United States. In August of 1945 World War II ended and so would have Kaiser and the Permanente if not for government contracts. During World War II, as an incentive to entice workers from other shipbuilding locations Kaiser offered health care. At that time the law was such that Kaiser was banned from simply offering workers more money than other places. Kaiser bragged that he could produce more, not better, ships and he did but he needed more workers to do so. He focused on volume, not quality and the government was ok with that.
Kaiser, ever the entrepreneur, with a specialty in corporate survival via government contracts conceptualized and wrote a bill for Congress in 1945, at the end of World War II, to run the equivalent of a National Health Care Program. Here you can view a news article about the Kaiser written and Senator hired to promote this bill. http://universalhealth.kaiserpapers.org/1945.html
They did it again with both the Nixon Administration while working to promote themselves with Ted Kennedy in the 1970's. They simply worked both sides of the track.
Then Kaiser did the same thing again with the Clinton Administration and was found out by the public.
They also did the same thing with Senator Conyers with the Conyers Plan.
Here we are again with the Obama Administration.
Here is how they in part did it: http://kaiserpapers.org/buy-a-government-contract.html
This is a good idea but a bad plan because those that administer it affiliated with Kaiser are only about making money and have very little intent in helping people with anything more than very basic bandaging care. Treating in volume is Kaiser's specialty. Quality is not a specialty historically with Kaiser and the government is still ok with it. There must be a very good reason that each attempt by Kaiser with their Plan has consistently failed to be accepted by the people of this country. I think that it has something to do with quality and who is doing the care and who is administering the program and how they are connected to Kaiser.
The State of Massachusetts inacted a similar to Kaiser plan a few years ago and it does appear to be working. It is reported to have zero Kaiser Permanente guidance, If this information is accurate then it shows that it can work by keeping greed out of the system.
In 2001, the Department of Health and Human Services cited Kaiser-Bellflower for failing to provide appropriate medical screening examinations, failing to provide stabilizing treatment for emergency medical conditions and failing to provide care in the emergency room without regard to the patients’ ability to pay. Kaiser-Bellflower’s policy was to keep patients waiting in the emergency room until they left without treatment. Between 1999 and 2006, more than 5,000 patients were sent home without receiving medical screening exams. Kaiser intentionally understaffed and understocked the hospital to increase profits and to decrease the number of patients who would avail themselves of the emergency room. Kaiser also provided inadequate and unsanitary care for its patients. Treatment of several patients suffering from chest pains and possible myocardial infarctions was delayed because the emergency room lacked appropriate medications such as nitroglycerin and resuscitation bags. Other patients were placed in rooms soiled with blood and excrement. In one instance, a patient was placed in a room with an aborted fetus and blood clots in the sink. Kaiser permitted physicians to refer patients, including children, to a doctor who was mentally ill and a known child molester. It also scheduled doctors, including Dr. Woods, to work consecutive evening or overnight shifts in violation of Medical Group rules, a practice which threatened patient care. - http://www.harp.org/WoodsVKaiser.htm
Here is what a patient to us about Kaiser Administering such a program, even in the background:
It scares me to think that Kaiser could be the template for national health care! My husband and I will work ourselves silly to afford better! All physicians who are from other countries, and are working with the American public, need to understand, have respect for, and be able to communicate very well with Americans and in very good English. I was bombarded several times with physicians who patronized, looked down on, and who had little regard for Americans or for learning proper English. In addition, there were a total of three situations we experienced with Kaiser which resulted in our resolve never to return to their plan. My husband and I were members of Kaiser for three years back in the late 1970’s when I worked with Sacramento County. We joined again briefly about fifteen years later, but we quickly dropped out and pursued private insurance. I have a story that I have told many times for its amusing qualities. As a community college instructor in California for a number of years, diversity and our ability as a state to integrate so many immigrants from all over the world has always been a source of pride as a Californian. We are glad that our sons grew up knowing and understanding many cultures and having friends from many countries. For this reason, I have never had a problem with going to physicians from other countries. One time in the late 1970’s, my toenails started to give me problems after I did a lot of hiking in Yosemite National Park. I also noticed my toenails were not growing correctly. I saw a physician from India and explained to him my story about hiking, the pain I was having in my toes, and about how they were not growing correctly. He looked at me for a long time, not at my toes, but at me in general. He then said in halting English, “You look good on outside, so you are good on inside.” That is all he said. I looked at him in disbelief, and asked him again what he recommended. Again he looked at me and said, “You look good on outside; you do look good on inside I think. You have no problem. You look good.” I excused myself and left his office, marching right down to the patient relations department. I may not remember exactly the name of the department, but I was told that if I had a complaint that is where I should go to explain my issue regarding the doctor. I was assigned another physician, but after seeing the next doctor, the nurse at his office quickly walked up to me and said, “You’ll never get the proper treatment here; go see this doctor, an Internist. He will take you seriously and get you help." I had to make excuses as to why I should go to yet a different doctor, but I did eventually get proper medication. On another occasion after the birth of my first child, I had some strange cramping and was sent to a general practitioner for an exam. An older doctor and Caucasian, he was pleasant but began to talk about surgery to resolve post-birth problems. I had not even been examined yet. I sensed a strange logic in his explanation on why I should be operated on, and decided not to return to Kaiser again. I found a gynecologist who examined me and offered exercises and a diet plan which resulted in all ending of my symptoms and increased health. In 1975, when I was working with Sacramento, CA. County, my husband was having a lot of pain in his left heel, an area which he had had surgery on as a child. Because my husband’s family had been with Kaiser for a long time, and because we were newly married, I didn’t have any history at that time to cause me to second-guess their treatment. My husband agreed to surgery, which the doctor said would “update” the skin graft done in his childhood. After the surgery, my husband’s nerves in his left heel and foot were damaged and resulted in the loss of feeling. A year later my husband went to a private surgeon in Fresno specializing in the feet and leg areas. My husband was told that the surgeon was a “butcher” and ruined the graft that had been “state-of-the-art” in 1958 when he had had it done. Unfortunately, the damage was done, and my husband never obtained any compensation or feedback from Kaiser. In addition, the surgeon that had done the surgery was “no longer with Kaiser” as said by Kaiser’s administration office. Those are our stories, and I hope that others can learn from ours and others’ stories that it is important to accept only physicians who are culturally respectful of Americans, who have a very good command of English—our language, who have proven success in the area of specialty that is needed, and who do not push for unnecessary surgeries. “JTF”
To show the sincerity of Kaiser Permanente with any Universal Health Plan Program in the world it is appropriate to quote George Halvorson - current CEO of Kaiser Permanente:
February 21, 2009
Reform of a $2.5 Trillion Health Care Industry
Former US Senator David Durenberger (R-Minn.), in his weekly e-mail newsletter , quotes George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser-Permanente, the largest health maintenance (health and healthcare delivery and financing) company in the world.
"Expecting our massive, very well-financed, high revenue, high margin, high growth, healthcare infrastructure to voluntarily reduce costs and prices and expecting them to voluntarily and spontaneously improve either outcomes or care quality is unfortunately naive. It is almost entirely funded by a steady and massive stream of fees and cash payments that have no linkage to either care quality, efficiency or results. It is magical thinking to believe that health care delivery can, or even could, reform itself in any significant way.
There is no economic reward for improving care."
That just about sums it all up. I think that Kaiser and the for Profit Permanente might be in the wrong line of business with that attitude. America can do better than this without the HMO's holding the population hostage all the time.
"The health sector is susceptible to abuse through various channels. Health systems incorporate numerous different actors in a complex web of relationships, which makes corruption difficult to identify where it exists. Health systems are often sustained by vast flows of public money, providing incentives and opportunities for corruption.
Whether a healthcare system is financed and controlled privately or by the state may give some indication of possible avenues for corrupt practice."
Kaiser learned very early on that the only stable way to make "big" money was to have large government contracts. Governments generally do not go out of business nor file bankruptcy. They seldom stop payment for poor performance and the most that ever happens to a contractee that knows how to cover his behind with well funded "constructive lobbying" is that he will get a fine. Never does he have to actually pay back all the money owed to the government.
The Kaiser corporations has been marketing to government it's proposals for Universal Health Care programs, which it has wanted to operate, manage and regulate since the end of World War II. There was a good reason that President Truman first refused to get involved with the Kaiser companies. Just as there was a good reason for President Truman to not want Henry Kaiser running for office along side him as had initially been proposed by his advisers. Kaiser had marketed himself very well to the media and had done so since the Hoover Administration. The press was in his pocket just as it is today and he became a "bigger" than life hero - Just as Paris Hilton has paid publicists to get her name and antics in the press nearly every day of the week. Same process - Same old story.
Kaiser and the for profit Permanente have placed online at their KP News Center a brag article about the number of attempts to land the biggest government contract of all at:
We think that they should indeed take credit for all the horrible medical fiascoes and financial bilking of the people's medical funding programs that have been created, as they say, at their insistence to our government since the Eisenhower years.
This section of The Kaiser Papers is intended to clearly present the facts and ignore the Paris Hilton publicity posturing.
Here is a line up of the programs Kaiser claims they originated over the years.
1946 - Proposed National Health Program for the Truman Administration
No mention of Kaiser in the above article nor in any of the other literature at the Truman Library related to national health care. Kaiser did advise on this issue though. Truman did turn down Henry Kaiser as a vice president running companion due to a speech Kaiser did write which exposed the open Kaiser principles of raise taxes. Secure government contracts is how Kaiser has operated and maintained themselves since the company began as a rural road builder under Federal contract. Kaiser covets government contracts because they pay well, the government seldom goes out of business and it is a pretty sure deal once you are in.
1950's - 1960's - Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan - under the Eisenhower Administration
Eisenhower Library doesn't seem to have any information on Kaiser doing anything other than trying to promote themselves.
Here is an informative website that covers this very topic and one that Kaiser claims they are responsible for. Please read:
T18CFR371 Selective Law Enforcement
1970's - The HMO Act - Under the Nixon Administration - Also See Michael Moore's SICKO
1990's - Proposed Universal Health Plan - source revealed under the Clinton Administration via lawsuit.
and here is the proof of Kaiser's direct participation - beginning on page 96 where Kaiser wants their name not known.
The Clinton Health Plan
text version - NOTE: Formatting is not the same as in the Clinton.pdf
White House Health Care Interdepartmental Working Group -
The records of the Interdepartmental Working Group were opened as a result of an agreement to end
litigation. The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) filed a lawsuit against Hillary
Rodham Clinton and others on February 24, 1993. The plaintiffs and the Federal
Government disagreed over whether or not the records of the Task Force and Interdepartmental Working
Group fell under the regulations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The Federal
Government argued against AAPS’s case, resulting in litigation that extended into 1994.
In an attempt to end the lawsuit, the White House decided to open the records of the Interdepartmental
Working Group. On August 17, 1994, the White House announced the release of the records at the
National Archives and Records Administration for public review. The White House defined the records as
presidential because the Working Group served an indirect advisory role to the President.
The records were first made available to researchers at the National Archives and Records Administration
on September 7, 1994.
Box 201 - Kaiser Recommendations
OA 3311 – Magaziner, Ira - Kaiser Foundation Reports
Box 379 - [Kaiser Plan – Simulation with Copays]
OA 1816 – Valdez, Robert - [Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Kaiser Estimates]
1999 - The Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy
One of the Kaiser methods of altering the United States Health Care Policies and one organization that the public really needs to scrutinize. This is a web site created to make Kaiser noticed by our Congress in Washington D.C. It is marketing like the THRIVE campaign or Saturday morning kid's breakfast cereal commercials. "Take the content with a grain of salt."
2002 - In Oregon Kaiser lobbied to prevent Universal Health Care. They claimed it could not be done.
Opponents of Measure 23, which would create universal health care in Oregon, have raised $402,692. Four health care companies -- Kaiser Permanente, Regence BlueCross Blue Shield of Oregon, Pacific Source, ODS Health Plans -- each has contributed $50,000. A fifth, PacifiCare, contributed $55,000.
But with over $400,000 in hand, those groups are outspending proponents by more than 10 to 1. Kaiser Permanente, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Pacificare, PacificSource, and ODS Health Plans each donated more than twice the total received by the Yes on 23 campaign.
2007 - California Health Care Reform 2007 - Schwarzenegger Administration
Published at: http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/figsonly/26/1/w80