Obamacare threatens to maim and kill innocent people in the name of furthering the bottom line for the insurance companies. Obamacare contains the heinous specter of death panels. We are all at risk and certainly Obamacare represents yet another form of wealth distribution. However, the people should know that help is on the way.
Dr. Linda Peeno contacted me two weeks ago and informed me that she is reinserting herself into her advocacy work on behalf of all patients who are trapped in a corrupt medical system.
If you don’t know who Linda Peeno is, the following profile should inspire all to become a force for positive change. If you remember Dr. Peeno, you will find the following information to be a welcome update on one of America’s most courageous whistleblowers.
Of all the interviews that I have conducted over the years, there is one interview which still troubles me to this day. Almost five years ago, I interviewed managed health care whistleblower, Dr. Linda Peeno, her revelations have haunted me in the years following the interview. I am haunted because Dr. Peeno gave so much to the people of America and lost nearly everything in return.
What started out as an interview with the objective consisting of presenting the listening audience with an expose on the inherent evils of health care, the interview turned into what John F. Kennedy would refer to as a shining example of a “profile in courage.” Yet, it is a profile in courage that has neither been championed or rewarded. Rather, Peeno’s statements and actions have been met with denial, derision, disdain and a highly effective and destructive retaliation.
Certainly, Linda Peeno’s trip down whistleblower lane appeared promising when the her Congressional testimony was prominently portrayed in Michael Moore’s movie, Sicko, as Peeno told Congress the following:
“I wish to begin by making a public confession: In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I caused the death of a man. Although this was known to many people, I have not been taken before any court of law or called to account for this in any professional or public forum. In fact, just the opposite occurred: I was “rewarded” for this. It bought me an improved reputation in my job, and contributed to my advancement afterwards. Not only did I demonstrate I could indeed do what was expected of me, I exemplified the “good” company doctor: I saved a half million dollars. I contend that “managed care,” as we currently know it, is inherently unethical in its organization and operation. Furthermore, I maintain that we have an industry which can exist only through flagrant ethical violations against individuals and the public.”
Below is an excerpt from Michael Moore’s movie Sicko, which featured the above referenced testimony from Dr. Peeno.
Previously on The Common Sense Show, Dr. Peeno stated that the man whose death that she took responsibility for, in the name of managed care, saved Humana $250,000. Peeno went on to state that shortly after the man’s death, she passed by a bronze and marble statue outside the Humana headquarters building, where Peeno was employed. She inquired how much the statue cost Humana to purchase. Peeno learned the statue cost Humana $3.8 million dollars. This gross contradiction in Humana’s priorities led Linda Peeno to wonder out loud “How many people must needlessly die in order to perpetuate corporate affluence?”
In the 2002 Showtime production, Damaged Care, talented actress Laura Dern played the part of Dr. Peeno as the docudrama portrayed the shift in consciousness that Peeno experienced as she became managed care’s biggest whistleblower because she could not longer trade lives for corporate profits by stamping the word “denied” on a preauthorization form requesting medical treatment.
Certainly, Dr. Peeno’s Congressional testimony and the Showtime docudrama s secured her spot as an American hero, didn’t it? Of course there was a lucrative book deal along with endless public appearances championing her personal courage in the name of protecting the public. And of course Dr. Peeno rode off into the sunset on her white horse to live happily ever after, correct?
Unfortunately, there was no lucrative book deal and Dr. Peeno’s livelihood was stripped away. After all, what managed care company would ever let her name appear on a provider’s list of physicians following her Congressional testimony? To add insult to injury, Humana attempted to defame Dr. Peeno’s credibility in a June 28, 2007 press release about Sicko, when Humana declared that Peeno was never a Humana permanent, full-time employee (despite drawing a six figure salary). Humana further went on to state that Peeno was nothing but a mere part-time contractor. Humana also took exception with Peeno’s Congressional testimony by stating that the referenced patient’s healthcare plan did not include coverage for a heart transplant. Therefore, according to some twisted sense of justice, Humana claimed that the denial of coverage was valid. But isn’t that the problem here in that we permit managed care to commit rationed health care genocide on the American public and then punish the whistleblowers, like Linda Peeno, for doing no more than attempting to fulfill their sacred medical oath “to do no harm”?
For a brief while, I wondered why Humana did not issue their denials in rebuttal to Peeno’s 1996 Congressional testimony. Then I realized, it is not a crime to lie to the press, but it is called perjury when it is done in front of Congress.
Please allow me to encapsulate what Dr. Peeno did for you and for me. After working most of her adult life to become a physician, she cast all of that aside in the name of saving lives by calling attention to one of the greatest evils on the planet, managed health care. Her reward was the loss of her medical career and subsequent livelihood. And as Dr. Peeno revealed on my show, she not only lost her medical career, she lost her marriage and was reduced to living month to month.
I have frequently wondered why more Americans are not taking to the streets in protest of the corporate takeover of our country. Some have sarcastically, and sometimes seriously, have suggested that too many of our citizens have been drugged, sprayed and injected with chemicals in order to induce passivity. Some have suggested that Americans are just too busy making ends meet to pay attention. Many others have suggested that the average American is so dumbed down by a failing education system that they cannot fully appreciate what we have lost to the fascist corporate power structure. However, my previous interview with Linda Peeno speaks to the fact that too many Americans are simply cowards and lack the back bone and the necessary personal conviction to do what Linda Peeno did.
In 2008, President Obama rode in on his white horse to save the health care day. At least that what is many of you thought. If Obama was truly interested in reform that would benefit patients, then why wasn’t Linda Peeno part of the national discussion? Why wasn’t she invited to serve on an Obama-appointed government committee on health care? After all, can anyone name a physician who has done more and subsequently suffered more for advancing the cause of patient rights? Does anyone doubt that Humana has a collection of their minions on these types of committees? I share in Dr.Peeno’s idea for taking the profit out of health care in order to restore a patient-centered system. However, Obamacare has also created a for profit system which is just as evil, just as corrupt and just as anti-patient. There can be no question that Obamacare will end up being another Obama disaster.
At the time of my last interview with Dr. Peeno, she revealed that she taught adjunct courses for Allied Healthcare as she attempts to make ends meet and she is without healthcare because she could not afford it. Whoever heard of a physician without health care?
One might think that Linda Peeno would be embittered with all that she has endured, but she is not. She spoke eloquently about finding contentment emanating from within while continuing to work for reform in the health care industry. Her grace and soft spoken manner has left an indelible mark upon me.
Dr. Peeno slowly drifted from the national discussion in healthcare. Then two weeks ago, I received an email, as she entitled it,” from an old friend.” Dr. Peeno said she wanted to become involved again with her advocacy work. Obamacare better watch out because history has show that Dr. Peeno is both formidable and fearless.
The world did not need Linda Peeno’s medical practice nearly so much as it needed Linda Peeno’s courage and conviction. The nature of her actions and her sacrifices commands us to take a very deep look at our own character and devotion to doing what we know is the right thing. Why aren’t there more Linda Peeno’s? Just what does it take to become a meaningful reformer and a fearless whistleblower?
Some of you will profess to lack the eloquence, the resources or the knowledge needed to help reclaim our lost country. Being a true reformer does not require any of these attributes. Then what does it take to help change one’s society? The attributes needed to become a reformer consists of answering one question and taking one action. Simply ask yourself, “Is this America that you want to raise your children in?” Then take a moment to reach around yourself and see if your backbone is still intact. If it is, you have what it takes. And please spare me the worn out argument that you don’t have the time. When some managed care company stamps the word “denied” on your child’s medical authorization for life-saving surgery, will you find the time then?