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Why we need to abolish the health insurance parasites

DCblogger's picture

Natasha Chart

Insurance companies make a lousy product that kills people and leaves Americans with lower life expectancies than people in 49 other countries. Their interests should stop mattering more than those of the people whose lives they wreck and whose entrepreneurial spirit they stifle.

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Submitted by jawbone on

by a doctor for single payer. Pretty good--longish, but well written and organized.

Apologies to the commenter--I've lost track of where the comment was and can't find on cursory search. Thanks to Dr. Flitedocnm, who concludes with this:

So, Single Payer?

Single payer health care might mean the death of private medicine in this country. It would likely mean that the clinic that my family member spent an entire professional career proudly building using loans that the clinic's physician partners took out on their own risk, would go out of business, because unless reimbursement rates were substantially increased above current Medicare rates, medical practices, even successful group practices, that are not owned by huge corporations or integrated systems that can take advantage of tax scams like those described above and preferential pricing only available to hospital owned practices -- will not be able to stay in business.

But you know what? Private, independent medicine is being slaughtered now. It's going extinct. And with its loss, an important part of what in the past made American medicine so vital, so personal and of such high quality will disappear, too.

That may be the price we have to pay. I have concluded that it's time to get private insurance out of the business of running and paying for health care, even if we were able to get every man, woman and child a health insurance policy, especially when insurance is used, as it often is now, as a way for huge corporations to gain a stranglehold on markets, and take all choice away from patients. Even if it means that many of my colleagues, including in my own family, wind up having to sell (probably at a substantial loss) what they've spent their lives building.

You see, while I understand capitalism, I also firmly believe that in an enlightened, wealthy society, we really have to do what does the most good for the most people. And if we believe that health care is a right and not a privilege, polishing the edges of a system that is rotten at the core will never get there.

Submitted by hipparchia on

of all the intertwining problems.

also, what he says about integrated practices vs small practices mirrors what i've been through [as a patient]. i feel much less crazy now. having never heard [or read] anybody else ever say a bad word about the idea, i was beginning to doubt my own perceptions.

Imelda Blahnik's picture
Submitted by Imelda Blahnik on

Just gave this a cursory read - but from my quick glance it seems a good move. If one were an employer, this might make HR 676 more appealing.

From the AP:

"Kennedy bill would make employers provide care"

Employers would be required to offer health care to employees or pay a penalty — and all Americans would be guaranteed health insurance — under a draft bill circulated Friday by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's health committee.

The bill would provide subsidies to help poor people pay for care, guarantee patients the right to select any doctor they want and require everyone to purchase insurance, with exceptions for those who can't afford to.

Insurers would be required to provide a basic level of care and cover all comers, without turning people away because of pre-existing conditions or other reasons. Insurance companies' profits would be limited, and private companies would have to compete with a new public "affordable access" plan that would for the first time offer government-sponsored health care to Americans not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or other programs.

Submitted by jawbone on

Since Obama is described as someone who needs to come down in the middle, I predict a muddle. Which favors the Big Insurers.

Thnx for picking up on this. An earlier article on a Kennedy plan mentioned a public plan based on buying into Medicaid, with income caps, which sounded terrible to me as plans vary so much from state to state (afaik). Also, basing insurance on "state exchanges" creates problems when people travel or for others reasons are out of their home states.

I have Aetna, which has no "presence" in the area where I was visiting over the holidays. When I had a problem, I was told to go to an ER (high copay, tel rep couldn't tell me if lab work was covered!). Fortunately, one of my NJ docs was willing to prescribe a different medication over the phone. But, essentially, except for the initial ER coverage, for things determined to be actual emergencies of course, I had no coverage.

Folding Medicare and Medicaid into a national healthcare system for everyone would save both of the Medi-plans and, with single payer, would cover everyone form dolloar one with comprehensive care (per Dr. David Himmelstein of Harvard and PNHP). Wish someone would be brave and propose that.

Oh, yeah! There's HR676! C'mon, senators, get on board!

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

to enrich a small collection of rubbers: bankers, health insurance companies, hedge funds, etc.

As for health insurance, I am not sure forcing a small business with a few employees to pay health insurance is a great idea. The government should step in and support the employees. Clearly, there will cheating but that, probably what European countries do.

It is ridiculous to what extend we go, Kennedy and Bacaus plans, in order to preserve our current rubbery system that exists only because of historical reason and is otherwise violation of the most basic civil right: be kept alive and healthy.