Healthcare Reform-Why I Cannot Feel Sorry for the Insurance Companies

Now health insurance companies (and all those concerned about “socialized” medicine) are worried that they won’t be able to compete with the proposed public health insurance plan (similar to Medicare), (see, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123958544583612437.html). Bring out the violins! Boo hoo. The crisis we have in healthcare can be blamed, almost entirely, on the insurance companies who turn in handsome profits at the expense of our healthcare. Once medicine became commercialized with entrepreneur’s determining who gets coverage (and, as a consequence, care) we were doomed. The only way to profit in the health insurance industry is to deny healthcare. Now the very industry who profited by restricting our choices, are worried they won’t be able to compete! Pretty frigg’n outrageous!

Over the past couple of decades insurance companies have effectively become monopolies; restricting our ability to choose their providers by fencing us into networks. They also control all of the information about coverage and costs which limits our choices. We all know how insurance companies deny claims or toss folks out of their plans when they become sick. I don’t feel sorry for them, do you? We all talk about how bad Medicare is; but ask any of those on Medicare would they have it any other way? Most would say no!

This is not to say that universal healthcare is the answer to all of our healthcare problems. Unless we control healthcare costs and change the way healthcare is deliverred, we’ll still be in a mess. Nation! We must realize that we cannot sustain the strain healthcare costs puts on our economy. We have the most expensive, least effective healthcare system in the industrialized world. This is borne out by numerous studies done by private foundations. Currently, we spend over $700 billion on unnecessary tests and treatments, including angioplasties, MRI’s, knee surgeries, screening tests that are uncalled for, etc , etc, etc. Fifty percent of the treatments are unnecessary and often come at great risk to the patient, resulting in over 30,000 deaths a year.

Having insurance doesn’t mean you’re entitled to all the care that is available. SOME OF IT IS NOT SAFE OR EFFECTIVE! However, for most of us its difficult to distinguish necessary from unnecessary care. We didn’t go to medical school; we trust that our doctor to tell us what we need. However, in many cases, greed has replaced the doctors ethical responsibility to do right by their patients. The Hippocratic oath, …”I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous..” , has been forgotten for the all might buck.

Yes, care will have to be rationed, but if you think about it, it is being rationed already. If you have insurance you have care, if you don’t you won’t!

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