Carol Michealson holds a sign in the front office of OptumHealth.
By Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff
A group of about 37 people marched into the front office of OptumHealth on Mike Colalillo Drive on Tuesday, Sept. 22 with a list of demands they wanted presented to the CEO.
Immediately prior to that they had rallied near the street with signs and banners while several people spoke to the crowd. The group was organized by Chad McKenna of the North East Area Labor Council. Rev. Cathy Schuyler, a pastor at Duluth Congregational Church, said American society already agrees that health care is a basic human right citing that emergency care at hospitals cannot be denied. “Each human is created in God’s image,” she said. “We have become selfish and our health care system is broken. Too many people have been left by the side of the road.” She quoted the late Sen. Paul Wellstone saying, “We all do better when we all do better.”
The group asked for reform of criteria used to deny enrollment and claims. OptumHealth is a subsidiary of United Health Care. In September a document was leaked of another subsidiary of United Health Care, PacifiCare, which listed criteria used to determine enrollment and deny coverage.
Criteria included occupations of fire fighters and police. Also some of the most common medications and medical conditions are to be denied – including acne, pregnancy, high blood pressure, and asthma.
The letter included the following demands:
Demand #1: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will not stand between a doctor and a patient when it comes to deciding what care that patient needs. No one at United Health will substitute their judgment for the judgment of the patient’s physician in deciding if care is medically necessary.
Demand #2: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will not deny or drop coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition.
Demand #3: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will terminate any policy or incentive that rewards employees financially or otherwise for denying care and rejecting claims.
Demand #4: United Health and its operating divisions and subsidiaries will not use any resources – including funds, employees, and facilities — to oppose any aspect of the health reform proposals supported by President Obama and being considered by members of the United States Congress.