Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Insurance industry tries to kill reform with kindness

We're still in the early stages, but the political climate is ripe and it's clear that some kind of health insurance reform is going to happen. The industry is already mounting their PR plan of attack against it with a feigned surrender.
In the letter, the two insurance industry groups said their members are willing to "phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual market" if all Americans are required to get coverage.
Sounds good at first blush, but only "about 7 percent of Americans buy their coverage as individuals, while more than 60 percent have job-based insurance." They're not offering that option to small businesses and they reserve the right to "charge different premiums based on such factors as age, place of residence, family size and benefits package." Notice how they slip the age thing into an otherwise reasonable mix? Perhaps they're hoping no one would notice the fastest growing demo is aging Baby Boomers? [via]

This is the same kind of trick they played when they sold HMOs as their concession to better health care. They shouldn't even be included in the equation. As David Lindorff points out, "Health insurance companies add zero value to the delivery of health care. Indeed, they are a significant cost factor that sucks up, according to some estimates such as one by the organization Physicians for a National Health Program, as much as 31 percent of every dollar spent on medical services (a percentage that has been rising steadily year after year)."

A point that's made more clearly by Ezra's anecdotal post about his friend ending up at a hospital in Germany, where he knows no one and doesn't speak the language, because his insurance company refused to pay the excessive costs in the US.

We pay 40-75 percent more per capita for health care and receive less services than countries in Europe with national plans. The additional costs can be linked to the insurance industry. They're not going to give those profits up without a very big fight.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

I wonder how many "Monica's" they have in their Rolodex, uh, Blackberries?

10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...


9:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Insurance Companies ARE the problem! For too long, we have invested too much without receiving quality protection from our insurance companies. We must hold them responsible for their behavior by calling to responsibility in prices, treatment, information and transparency; FAIR is an organization that brings attention to this purpose.

This is where we should start to create a healthcare system that will serve to benefit all.
Check out the web site:

10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

William, if you want to pitch your product I suggest you contact me by email and buy an ad on the sidebar. My rates are very reasonable.

9:17:00 AM  
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4:16:00 AM  

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