Sunday, August 9, 2009

Health Care or Don't Care?

A friend of mine at lab - socially liberal, fiscally conservative - has been trying to decide his views on the public health care option. He wrote this and forwarded it to all his friends. -SS

This is the link to an extremely interesting, and disturbing interview by Bill Moyers of Wendell Potter, a former CEO of Cigna, one of the largest insurance companies in the country. I highly recommend watching it to become much more informed about the issue, whether you are a democrat or republican.

(SS: here's a snippet...)

I personally was a bit on the fence for the public option. For those of you who don't know me, I am socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. Government waste and bureaucracy are huge problems in our country, and we can't just create programs simply because they would be nice to have. On the other hand, health insurance companies have an insane amount of bureaucracy, and the system they have is designed to make people give up and just accept whatever they are told.

This interview is not some rhetoric from a democrat or republican congressman spewing party dogma. This is a former chief executive from the insurance industry, who knows the ins and outs of the business. It is very informative. If you don't have the time to watch the 30 minute interview, let me highlight a few points.

1. The insurance companies are terrified of a public option above all other things. It will remove their oligopoly.

2. The insurance companies are proposing to eliminate pre-existing conditions denials of coverage because they don't like them. They are the ones who created the pre-existing condition denials. No one is forcing them to do that. Why haven't they eliminated them before? According to Wendell Potter, they won't. Once the reform talk is over, they'll continue their current practice.

3. The companies want status quo. They are making lots of money currently and will do whatever it take to kill any legislation.

4. He outlines the methods in which the companies eliminate insurance for those that they aren't making a profit off of.

5. In the 1980's, 95% of premiums went to pay for care. Now that % is down in the eighty percentiles. The rest is either insurance bureaucracy or profit.

6. Wall Street gives insurance companies better rankings the less they spend on their members.

7. One of the media statements the insurance lobby has put forth is that "you don't want a government bureaucrat coming between you and your doctor." Well, right now you have a Wall Street bureaucrat doing just that.

8. The insurance companies want everyone to have insurance. Not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because it means more premiums for them.

There are many other points that come across. If you can spare the time, I implore you to watch this.

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