Florida is cutting people off from HIV/AIDS medication, citing budget concerns:
The number of HIV-positive patients applying to the $93 million AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP) has jumped as people lost jobs and health insurance, but squeezed state and federal budgets can't keep up with the demand, officials said.
The state Department of Health will start a waiting list for the program on June 1, will reduce the number of covered drugs in the program on Aug. 1, and will study other cuts, said Tom Liberti, chief of the department's HIV/AIDS bureau.
With an enormous oversupply of labor in the US economy (tens of millions of people looking for work! Why can't they work on this?), you'd think that we'd be able to find the means of producing medication that keeps people alive. It seems more basic than this:
While the American people find themselves priced out of health insurance and healthcare, the CEOs of America's largest for-profit health insurers are making record salaries.
And perks . . .like private corporate aircraft, country club memberships, security services (wonder why they need this?) and a lifestyle most Americans can only dream about.
It's really long overdue that the American people hit the streets to demand guaranteed and affordable healthcare. It's also long overdue that we drive a stake through the heart of the fully parasitic Murder by Spreadsheet for-profit insurance industry.[...]
Meet the parasites:
Ron Williams - Aetna
Total Compensation: $24,300,112
Details: Williams earned $24,300,112 in total compensation for 2008, with more than half of that ($13,537,365) coming from option awards. He also received an additional $6,456,630 in stock awards to go along with his base salary of $1,091,764.
Personal use of a corporate aircraft and vehicle, as well as financial planning and 401(k) company matches added up to $101,487 for Williams.
H. Edward Hanway - CIGNA
Total Compensation: $12,236,740
Details: Hanway took a significant pay cut from 2007 to 2008, due mainly to a drop off of more than $11 million in his non-equity incentive plan compensation. Still, his base salary of $1,142,885 surpasses that of Aetna's Williams, and is supplemented by just over $3.6 million in option awards, and just over $820,000 in non-qualified deferred compensation earnings.
Also, nearly $21,800 in "other compensation" included the use of a company car with a driver, in-office meals, and emergency assistance services relating to medical exams.
Angela Braly - WellPoint
Total Compensation: $9,844,212
Details: Braly, like Williams, earned more money in 2008 ($9,844,212) than in 2007 (9,094,271), increasing her option rewards by nearly $1.5 million, and also receiving a $200,000-plus bump in base salary, from $922,269 to $1,135,538. Braly's stock awards dropped from $2,160,159 to $1,750,015 because, according to the SEC, "performance-based restricted stock units awarded in 2008 were cancelled because our ROE target for 2008 was not met."
Braly's "other compensation" comprised use of a private jet for her and her family on business trips, just under $10,000 for legal services relating to her employment agreement and cash credits.
The list goes on.
That's why some people are calling this America's "neo-feudalism." The idea is that there are a few people who absolutely must live in the lap of luxury, and to pay for their lifestyles working class folks with HIV have to give up the medications that keep them alive.
Everyone has to make sacrifices in this recession, but super-productive people like those described above couldn't possibly be asked to pay taxes at 1990's levels. That's just too much to ask.
There are lords and ladies and then there are peasants, and the latter's lives really don't matter to the former, but they'll whine and expect the peasants to care about the fact that they might have to pay a slightly higher marginal tax rate that still won't prevent them from buying another Picasso or another mansion at Martha's Vineyard.
Unless one accepts that some people's lives are more valuable than others', then there's no way to justify the way our economy currently functions.