Wednesday, April 22, 2020

GOOD NEWS! CANCER PATIENT WHO FOUGHT LFG FINALLY WON APPEAL

Back in November, Relation State reported on Emily Suess, who was denied her long term disability claim from Lincoln Financial Group.  You can find that story here at Lincoln Financial Group Scams Cancer Patient.  We are pleased to report that after a grueling ordeal, Emily has won her appeal.

It took an attorney, patience and some resiliency, but Emily knows now that it was worth the payoff. She has decided to be a resource, herself, for anyone undertaking the same struggle she had. She has published her timeline on her site and is willing to be a source of encouragement and information as much as she can. 

Recently, Emily did a guest appearance on Brain Cancer Diaries on Youtube.  Here, she talks about her journey and how she is dealing with her life as a cancer patient.



You can see all the things she is doing and get information if you want to help support her work at EmilySuess.com.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

LINCOLN FINANCIAL GROUP SCAMS CANCER PATIENT

Maybe we don't like our insurance companies after all.


Emily Suess struggles with her disability and LFG.
There has arisen a great debate in this country concerning the role insurance companies should have in health care in the United States. Progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren insist that they have no place while conservatives and moderate De
mocrats want them to be pivotal in care. However, because they are for-profit corporations, the goal of insurance companies is to maximize profits in order to keep their shareholders happy. To accomplish that, they find ways to deny care or payment of care to their customers. Therein lies the inherent conflict of interest. 

I could spend a lot of space showing example after example of how health insurance companies have denied care because of built-in excuses they have in the fine print of their policies and the unethical schemes they use to utilize that fine print. However, that isn’t the aim for this piece.

It should be known that health insurance isn’t the only product that companies use to routinely bilk their customers. Emily Suess can testify to that. She has been battling Lincoln Financial Group (LFG) to get them to honor their commitment to provide her benefit. She bought in good faith a long term disability insurance policy from them when she was well enough to work. However, LFG has determined that instead of giving her that benefit, she should return to work now despite her debilitating and inoperable, malignant, brain tumor.

Emily was hired as a writer for Wolfram Research in Champaign, IL in 2013. As part of her benefits package, she thought it wise to purchase a supplemental policy that would cover long term disability. Her husband, Dan, is disabled which made Emily the sole breadwinner. She thought the wise and responsible thing to do was to buy disability insurance just in case something unthinkable should arise. She knew it would be devastating for her and Dan if she was forced to give up working because of an accident or health issue. She bought that policy not only to safeguard her finances, but also to give her peace of mind. As it turned out, it gave her neither.

A little over a year after purchase of that policy, Emily began to experience gait abnormalities, vertigo, and dizziness. She started to fall a lot. She also started suffering from fatigue, chronic generalized pain, insomnia, IBS and other digestive issues. For the next three years, she was jerked around by one doctor or facility after another . That could fill an article by itself. However, let’s just say after being told everything from fibromyalgia, psychosomatic problems, and possibly multiple sclerosis, she was ultimately diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor - an astrocytoma.

At that point, in 2017, Emily applied and received her benefit from her short term disability insurance policy. After having brain surgery to address the tumor (a biopsy to determine the best way to treat it), she applied and received her long term disability benefit from LFG.

 As soon as she started to receive her checks from LFG, she was urged - even coerced by LFG to obtain the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit. This was important to LFG because the policy allowed them to subtract the amount of the SSDI from their payout (which is a common stipulation in long term disability policies). Since Emily received her SSDI briefly after application, LFG was able to cut her benefit by the amount of her SSDI check. However, that wasn’t enough for LFG; they were hell bent on not paying Emily anything at all. “Other companies do it to.” Emily told RS - referring to the cutting of her benefit in lieu of SSDI, “I mean, they already get out of paying so much when you make a claim that it is just disgusting when they cancel on you altogether and don’t have to pay anything.”

That is exactly what happened. After 24 months, LFG re-evaluated Emily’s disability and proclaimed her able to go back to work. Bear in mind there is still a tumor on her brain stem and her symptoms have not changed. So how did LFG justify cutting Emily off from her benefits? They found a ringer. 

ENTER DR. LEE HARTNER

Lee Hartner, LFG's hired gun
In order for LFG to be able to take away someone’s benefit, they have to find an expert to claim that the policy holder can return to work, thus getting LFG off the hook. It just so happens that LFG has such an expert that they are sure will not let them down. Dr. Lee Hartner, an oncologist for Penn Medicine, went to work on the insurance company’s behalf.

It would be easy to assume that LFG would insist that Emily be examined by THEIR doctor (Hartner) so that he could soft soap a five minute examination and then tell LFG what they paid him to hear. However, LFG and Hartner did nothing even that ethical. Instead, Hartner apparently looked over a few tests, reviewed some literature about astrocytomas, and gave her a clean bill of health.

Emily stated that this wasn’t an isolated case for Hartner. He has apparently, based on her research, ruined other cancer patients’ lives with his company line assessment in order to benefit insurance companies which is his gravy train.This incenses Emily, “It disgusts me that he treats cancer patients (in his regular practice).”

LFG quickly cut off her benefit despite the fact that none of her symptoms had dissipated or even improved. This forced Emily and Dan to try to live on roughly 30% of her previous salary. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Emily went from being a professional writer making a decent living for her family, to a disabled woman worried about keeping a roof over her head and food on the table - on top of dealing with her debilitating condition that caused her pain and physical dysfunction. All this despite doing the responsible thing of buying insurance to prevent this very circumstance.

Emily is now on her second appeal after being denied the first one. She and Dan are hoping beyond hope that somehow she will win this time and have the necessary portion of her income restored - the portion she bought and paid for. She has also started a Patreon page where people can help. “I do still get SSDI. There’s never been a question with the Social Security Administration as to my disability. It is not enough to get by without the benefits from the Lincoln Financial policy.”

Emily’s struggle with LFG has opened her eyes to the corruption that is part of the M.O. of insurance companies - especially those that deal with health and disability. She stated that she would like to see major changes in how people are treated by insurance companies such as LFG. “I’d like to see the system dismantled. I don’t care about (LFG) as an individual company. The people who work for them and prop up this system need to be called out. I’ve contacted my members of Congress, tried to tell the world. I’m not some poor soul who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This system is how they want it -- FOR EVERYONE! I just want people to know that and think about it before they sink their hard earned money into it.”

Emily would, at least, like to see doctors be subject to additional regulations when they engage in this type of chicanery, “I want to make the doctors disclose this stuff the way they have to disclose taking money from pharma. I will die trying to make that happen.”

YOU CAN HELP

Emily and Dan
As mentioned Emily has started a Patreon page for people who are interested in helping out. They get the benefit of reading her memoir chapter by chapter as it comes out and it also has zentangles, a form of meditative design and pattern drawing. You can check out her page at patreon.com/emilysuess. You can also help Emily with your Paypal account at paypal.me/emilysuess. Emily also has her web site (emilysuess.com) to keep people up to date with her situation and other important issues around her life.

Emily asks for those who want to help stop this type of abuse to share their story and vote for people who represent real constituents, not corporate donors. Most of all, she urges everyone to not give their money to Lincoln Financial Group.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tea Party Politician Exhibits the Guts to Take on the Trump Disaster in the Republican Primary

Ex-Congressman Joe Walsh
Back in 2016, Relation State refused to endorse Hillary Clinton.  The Democratic National Committee along with the Clinton Campaign had demonstrated that they were corrupt as they were in cahoots to coronate Clinton as the nominee come hell or high water.. The DNC was even sued for fraud.

Endorsing Donald Trump was a non-starter. RS knew that he would be an embarrassment to the country with his juvenile petulance and his obvious ignorance of how government actually works.

While staring at a binary choice, Hillary was the better of the two evils. RS is not totally averse to endorsing with prejudice the candidate that is the lesser of two evils, but exposed corruption is a deal breaker.  Therefore, Relation State was forced to endorse third party candidate, Jill Stein.  Stein was the least of the three evils, but at least she wasn't guilty of corruption.

One thing that we miscalculated was the courage and integrity of the Republican Party.  We figured that even if Donald Trump won, party leaders would keep him in check because they would want to preserve the dignity and reputation of the party. Since Trump would be the most unpopular president in recent history, according to the polls, the party would want to keep their distance. We. Were. Wrong.

The GOP became the party of the sycophant.  People who disparaged Trump and knew that he was bad news, suddenly sang his praises out of fear that he would tweet his displeasure at them and encourage someone to primary them.
"We need a commander in chief, not a Twitterer-in-chief. ... I don't know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way having his finger on the button. I mean, we're liable to wake up one morning, and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark."
--Ted Cruz, February 2016
=======================

"While pundits obsessed over tweets, he worked with Congress to cut taxes for struggling families. While wealthy celebrities announced that they would flee the country, he fought to bring back jobs and industries to our shores. While talking heads predicted Armageddon, President Trump’s strong stand against North Korea put Kim Jong Un back on his heels." 
--Ted Cruz, April 2018
___________________________________________________________________________

Finally, SOME Republicans have realized that the deal they made with the devil has a cost.  Trump buddy, Anthony Scaramucci finally had enough of the nonsense and has publicly stated that Trump has to be defeated.  However, the guy that is turning the most heads these days is Tea Party member and FORMER demagogue Joe Walsh who announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president against Donald Trump on This Week with George Stephanopoulis..

Walsh did something that Trump would or could never do - own his mistakes.  He stated that he had a "come to Jesus" moment and realized that his positions demonizing his political adversaries were wrong. He took responsibility for paving the way for Trump and has pledged to hammer the president everyday to remove the power from the bully he states that he helped put there.

Walsh may not be the only Republican opposing Trump in the primary.  Former Massachusetts governor, Bill Weld is in and former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford is expected to announce his candidacy.  Neither has attacked Trump's character in the way that Walsh has.  Sanford indicates that his main issue will be fiscal responsibility and that has been the source of his opposition of Trump.Weld mentions both policy and character, but  Walsh makes no bones about his attacks.  He is running on the idea that Trump is unfit to be president..

While Relation State does not embrace Walsh's politics, we do endorse his courage and his new found conscience.  We will not ask anyone to vote for Walsh, but we would not be averse to our readers writing a check to his campaign.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Buttigieg Looking to Capitalize on the 2020 Version of Democratic Primary Shenanigans

Seven months before the first primary election date, Pete Buttigieg is already courting superdelegates. In other news, Donald Trump just moved one step closer to seizing his second term.

When a candidate is already looking to capitalize on a system that short circuits the democratic process, you have to wonder if there is a hidden ethical problem.

For those who don't know, the superdelegates do not vote until the second ballot in 2020 if necessary. Unless the field is pared down quite a bit when the voting starts, a second ballot is going to happen. If you remember 2016, it was the superdelegates that gave Bernie Sanders too much of an uphill battle to win the nomination. They are party insiders that favor establishment candidates that have their hand in the corporate till which buys influence with politicians. A simple check of Buttigieg's contributors (compliments of Open Secrets), we already see that he is immersed in corporate money.

When the loudest messages on the campaign come from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, there will be trouble if there is an establishment takeover on the second ballot. It will cause a rebellion with the progressive wing of the party because the message from Warren and Sanders is that the corporate establishment is corrupt. 

The establishment took over to a certain extent in 2016, and we got Donald Trump. If it happens again, get ready for four more years of ridiculous tweets and xenophobic policy.

Conventional wisdom says that the superdelegates will not pick Buttigieg this time. They will court Elizabeth Warren instead. She has been known to play ball with the establishment from time to time and would be more likely to spark a rebellion. They certainly aren't going to pick Bernie Sanders. They might have to settle for Bernie light.  In the meantime, Buttigieg is showing some colors that a lot of voters aren't fond of.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Establishment Dems are Blaming the Wrong People for Tarnishing Obama

On every news channel, the mantra has been.  The Democratic candidates are offensive.  How dare they tarnish the legacy of the great Barack Obama! I agree to a point.  Obama was a president that unified the party and blazed a couple of trails that were previously too tough to venture.  However, their ire is pointed at the wrong people.  This unfortunate turn of events should be pinned on Joe Biden and his campaign and perhaps they need to look into the mirror.

One of the worst aspects of street fights is that innocents get hurt. When people find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, they stumble into harm's way.  However, when one of the combatants use an innocent as a shield, then where does most of the responsibility lie?

Biden has used the "Barack and I" line so much, that I am just waiting to hear about some mole President Obama has on his body that only Biden (and perhaps Michelle) knows about. This notion that Biden can use Obama's name as a magic word where no one is allowed to touch him, isn't going to fly. One of the lessons that should have been learned in 2016 was that when you try to coronate someone before the nomination process, it doesn't end well.  Therefore, no magic words allowed!

All candidates have to run on their records and no one's should be exempt.  It is arguable that a policy that may be undesirable now was understandable in context when it was enacted.  As far as that applying the Obama administration, that is up to Biden to clear up, not his opponents.  If  Joe Biden is going to invoke Obama's name, then he has to be the one to protect it.  Biden has to have a better defense of his and his soul mate's decisions than, "I can't believe you went there!" 

The Democratic party isn't getting any help from the mainstream media either.  The establishment news channels fume about how the Dem candidates are giving fodder to Trump to justify his attacks on Obama.  They are wrong; the media is the one doing that.  Our TV bug of a president doesn't have original ideas.  He gets all his ideas from television. Can you guess who already used that info at his rally in Cincinnati?

Logic tells us that before we can pin blame on Cory Booker or Kamala Harris for hurting Obama's legacy, we have to get through Biden and the media first. However, I don't expect a light bulb moment to happen to either of those players.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Pelosi, and Trump do the Impeachment Dance to the Mueller Orchestra

THE AFTERMATH OF THE MUELLER TESTIMONY
Impeachment is unlikely. Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the stomach for it. She thinks it is a bad political move and she is probably correct because people will not read the Mueller Report. Mueller's congressional testimony didn't help much either because it was dry and Americans tend to have the attention span of gnats. They are now and will continue to be - at least during this administration, an uninformed people.

Americans are tribal and no one will hear anything that is bad for the their tribe. It is true to a certain extent for Dems, but it is even worse for Trump Republicans. For that bunch, there are only two types of information: pro Trump facts, or fake news.

However, RELATION STATE thinks the impeachment inquiry must go on anyway. If Pelosi and the Dems are making decisions totally based on politics, then they have no claim to the ethical high road any more than Trump and the Republicans. The Congress is there to safeguard the country and fulfill their Constitutional duty of checks and balances. If they allow Trump to be above the law because of a fear of political consequence, then they are complicit in the corruption.

Seldom are there situations where the ends justify the means and this is definitely not one of those times. If we allow the Constitution to fail, then what do we really have?

Therefore, Pelosi and the House should take up impeachment inquiry and reveal to the world whatever grounds there are for impeachment. The Mueller Report suggests that there are plenty. They cannot fear that it will fall on deaf ears in the other chamber. If the senate does not convict, then that is on Mitch McConnell and the senate Republicans to wear the mantle of corruptness. They can't wear it if the House keeps it for themselves.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Handicapping the Field - Joe Biden

Now that the debates are here, I thought I would produce a series of posts that look at that Democrats applying for the nomination and try to summarize the outlook.  I am not going to predict the winner; that would be naive.  However, I am going to opine on who has the better paths to win.  Of course I am not going to go through all of the candidates because that would take longer than some will be in the race.  However, I will take a look at some that I think will last the longest.  First up, Joe Biden.

Biden is the front runner for a number of reasons - the most obvious is name recognition.  Everyone knows Biden's name because he has been around forever and his most recent gig was vice president for Barack Obama.  I remember that because Biden won't let anyone forget it.  He is always name dropping "Barack" anytime he gets a chance.  I am surprised that he doesn't call him "Barry" at this point.

Advantages:  In addition to name recognition, Biden has the advantage of having the image of bringing normalcy back to the White House.  He is genuinely a nice guy and is a safe, moderate pick for people who have political fatigue. He also has the DNC stamp of approval because he is the darling of the establishment.  That means he will be protected to a certain extent by the mainstream media and will have built-in surrogates every hour on CNN and MSNBC.

Disadvantages:  Nice guys finish last - particularly in this country. Four years, ago at this point in the election process, Jeb Bush was the huge front runner for the Republicans.  He was also a nice guy.

More specifically, Biden doesn't have anything new to offer.  His platform so far is that Donald Trump is a bad guy and that he is no Donald Trump.  The policies that he has hinted at seem to be retreads of old policies that he and Barry put together.  That isn't going to fly with the party that falls in love as opposed to one that falls in line.

Being the establishment darling and moderate will ensure he will get no support from a faction of the party. He is seen by some as the Hilary of 2020 and that leaves a bad taste for those that feel like Bernie Sanders got hosed.

Biden is also a gaffe machine.  He will, undoubtedly, say some things that he should not.

He is also dealing with old baggage.  He has been on the wrong side of things that have the woke Democrats up in arms.  He wasn't very accommodating to Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings. In addition, he earned a reputation of being pretty handsy.  He was also an architect of the controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 which has earned the ire of the African American community.

In addition, Biden has to carry the baggage of being an old white guy.  In this election season, it is perfectly acceptable to hold age, race, and sex against an individual as long as it is elderly, male, and white.  That isn't to say that white males haven't had a power lock on positions of political power that must be addressed; I am merely speaking of how it will affect individuals in this particular election - for right or for wrong.

Outlook: Although Biden looks strong in the polls now, like Jeb Bush did, it is a long shot in my mind that he can take this LONG campaign wire to wire.  People have short attention spans and they are going to jump to the next shiny thing sooner or later because they get bored easily. The front runner is the big target and Biden will take a beating from other Dems and Trump.

Biden's only hope is to parlay political fatigue, establishment coddling, and his "nice guy-ness" to the nomination.  He must hope that a lot of people will latch on to him and tune out of the election process due to fatigue.  If the establishment dems and media come to his defense like they have so far when he is attacked, that will help establish him as a sympathetic candidate and also allow him to hold on to freshness.