Health care CEO’s neighbor tells protesters “It’s f-ing Christmas!”

So who are the bigger jerks here: Smug health care reform protesters picketing United Health Group CEO Stephen Helmsley’s house last weekend, or the livid Mercedes-driving neighbor who, spotting a “Home of Bandit” sign, berates them with “It’s f-ing Christmas!”

The neighbor’s case: Go protest at United Health. “This is his home. It’s Christmas. You look like a bunch of small-mined idiots. Doing this in front of his home is a low blow.”

The protesters case: “It may be.” But people get cut off insurance at Christmas. “I wonder if Hemsley gives a rat’s ass about people who died and did not get to see another Christmas when his company denied their claims?” We’ve protested at United Health. These decisions get made at the top.

Warmer than a yule log, people. If you’re already tired of this “Peace on Earth” crap, choose your side. [Hat tip: MnSpeak and iteeth. Posted by socialalt.]

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Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/23/2009 - 10:27 am.

    Whenever you find a mangy pack of union droogs picketing the front of your house, just turn on the sprinklers.

  2. Submitted by Matthew Steele on 12/23/2009 - 10:51 am.

    …or set an investigator on them and deny them coverage because they once bought Clearasil at Target but never declared they had acne. Then they die, and no more mangy union droogs to bug you!

  3. Submitted by Jim Camery on 12/23/2009 - 11:02 am.

    Smithers, release the hounds!

  4. Submitted by Erik Hare on 12/23/2009 - 12:42 pm.

    I just wonder what Garrison Keillor thinks about the phrase, “It’s (effing) Christmas!”

    Seems a bit, um, secular.

  5. Submitted by Adam Platt on 12/23/2009 - 01:04 pm.

    Clearly it’s the neighbor, since he’s driving a car that is unacceptable to right-thinking people. By taking the measure of people by what they drive or wear or eat, liberals end up sounding worse than the people they think they’re better than.

  6. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 12/23/2009 - 01:28 pm.

    Well this liberal, for one, is easily the worst person in this thread, Mr. Swift included.

    If the snow forecast turns to ice I might get stranded here over Christmas. If so, I think I’ll mosey over Helmsley’s to write him a Christmas message in the snow.

    And I’d be glad to drive over there in a Mercedes if Adam would care to lend me his.

  7. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 12/23/2009 - 03:24 pm.

    A big dose of reality for this neighbor. And he doesn’t like it. This stuff doesn’t happen in my WASP neighborhood. This stuff happens on TV, right? I know you people want to do something about healthcare, but COME ON, actually DOING something about healthcare? You gotta be kidding me.

    Well, the protesters are dead-right. It doesn’t matter what the calendar says; people are losing their insurance. I admire the courage of these protesters. Humiliating the people who cause the problem is a good angle.

  8. Submitted by dan buechler on 12/23/2009 - 03:28 pm.

    What I can’t get figured out is the Republican Party telling the Democrats to balance the budget (during one of the worst recessions ever). In order to do so they would (if they had the control) have to cut spending and raise taxes. Both are counter cyclical measures. The Republicans would like to win over 100% of the electorate in their dreams but they never will.

  9. Submitted by Erik Hare on 12/23/2009 - 03:42 pm.

    I blame all of our problems on the following:

    1) People that are, by their own identity, members of large groups,
    2) People who, by their actions, behave as though they belong to large groups, and
    3) People who, by their actions, can be placed into large groups by other people.

    There are no problems in this world that are caused by individuals taking any specific action on their own – excepting, of course, persons whose rhetoric allows them to be placed into a large group such that any responsibility they might otherwise have can be transferred to that larger group.

    Now, you’ve all been absolved of any personal responsibility for your own actions or words. Feel free to be as nasty as you possibly can be. It’s the ultimate modern form of Redemption, utterly and completely free of any Grace at all!

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/23/2009 - 05:01 pm.

    “In order to do so they would (if they had the control) have to cut spending and raise taxes.”

    Wanna bet?

    “Republicans would like to win over 100% of the electorate in their dreams but they never will.”

    Not a bit of it.

    We’ve seen the crew leaving Michael Moore films, and are aware that lots of people voted for a guy who promised he was bringing the hopey/changey…with no further details; we’re under no delusions concerning them.

    A nice tidy 60% will do handsomely.

  11. Submitted by Stan Daniels on 12/23/2009 - 05:09 pm.

    I have no problem with the protests as long as they stay focused on who they are protesting. Causing problems in the personal lives of neighbors (and their children) is out of bounds.

    No disagreement that United Healthcare has issues. But — United Healthcare was hired by employers. If these protestors think that healthcare will be fixed under a federal system they are very wrong.

    United Healthcare deserves the heat for the huge paychecks, but leave the families alone.

  12. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/23/2009 - 06:50 pm.

    Pointless disclosure: I worked at UHC. Twice. In IT.

    “No disagreement that United Healthcare has issues. But — United Healthcare was hired by employers.”

    And it gets fired by employers; constantly. If their costs are too high for the service they provide, they’re gone. I know at least one Twin Cities Fortune 500 firm that’s dumped Medica (a UHC joint) for the coming year.

    ” If these protestors think that healthcare will be fixed under a federal system they are very wrong.”

    The “protesters” have no idea how wrong they are.

  13. Submitted by Ed Stych on 12/23/2009 - 09:40 pm.

    Here’s what’s ironic: The AMA’s 2008 National Health Insurer Report Card shows that Medicare (the FEDS!), denied 6.85 percent of claims. That was the highest of the nation’s eight largest health insurers!

    Why aren’t these people protesting at the homes of our federal politicians?

  14. Submitted by Gregory Stricherz on 12/24/2009 - 08:31 am.

    Nice catch, Ed. Of course the same report shows Medicare had the highest adherence to the contracted payment rate—almost 40% higher than some of the others. No reason to deny claims when you can just not pay or underpay them.

  15. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 12/24/2009 - 09:51 am.

    Actually, there were two private insurers who denied claims at a higher rate than Medicare did this year.

    I had to go deep into Google to find a non-astroturfed story about this, but Pandagon has a good explanation at

    Essentially their case for Medicare is this:

    1) Medicare processed 6.9 million claims in 2008. No private insurer processed more than 1.1 million.

    2) Medicare deals primarily with the elderly, who have the greatest number of medical problems, and who present the greatest number of claims for excessive healthcare (i.e., trying to cheat death when your body is worn out).

    3) Medicare takes everyone. Private insurers prescreen and refuse to insure people with health issues. This alone biases the rejection rate data tremendously.

    The only solution to our problems that makes sense is single payer. Not because single payer is the absolute best system (altho I think it is), but because our private insurance sector has behaved so badly, nothing short of their complete elimination will ever fix our healthcare system.

    No one needs insurance. People need health care. There’s no reason why our health care system needs to involve insurance or the mountains of paperwork insurance companies demand.

  16. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/24/2009 - 10:20 am.

    @ mark

    One of my criticisms would be of our multi-tiered health care system, it’s a really expensive system to maintain because there’s so many different systems within it. There’s so many different forms of billing. There’s so many different prices. It’s just vastly simpler if there’s one set of rules and one set of forms and one price or one regional price for the whole country.

    No doctor in America can quote you a price for a procedure,they don’t know what they’re getting paid. They get 30 different fees for the same procedure in the same week because of all the different plans.

    So we are just pouring tons of money into stuff that doesn’t buy anybody health care largely because we have this hugely complicated overlapping set of systems and that’s one of the reasons all the other countries went to a single system.

  17. Submitted by Terry Hayes on 12/24/2009 - 11:58 am.

    “No one needs insurance. People need health care.”


    Thank you, Mark Gisleson.

  18. Submitted by Peter Soulen on 12/28/2009 - 07:03 am.

    Merecedes boy can probably afford to buy all the democracy he wants. Others have to get their democracy the hard way…

  19. Submitted by Ann Richards on 12/30/2009 - 01:12 am.

    So Thomas and those who think it wrong to picket at the home of the CEO, do you extend the same courtesy to doctors who perform abortions? Or do you pick and choose based on the cause and which side you are on? And just what is a ‘mangy pack of union droogs’ I have observed that when your rhetoric goes wild and you attack the opponent with empty words, you don’t make a point. Union people that I know have decent insurance, but union people that I know want to see more people with the same access they have. They can relate to the working family losing a home because of medical bills, they know they could lose their jobs and insurance in a heart-beat. The best medical coverage I ever had was through my union, but that job went overseas.

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