Now We Get To It

11Jun09

As expected, private insurance companies nibbling away at public health care.

No surprise here. No one really expects tigers not to eat meat. The insurer’s behavior is totally expected, normal, and natural for what they are, which are large private companies attempting to maximize profits on a model of “insurance” that cannot and never has been able to work. Human health never is and never can be the type of calculable risk amenable to insuring. BIOLOGY DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. Were we all replaced by androids, perhaps. But not until then.

(Caveat: were we all replaced by androids, HMOs would have worked too – the HMO model only works if 100% of the parties involved are both rational and completely healthy 100% of the time. Then, of course, we would not need health insurance at all.)

A quick overview of the Americare plan is available here. It is, basically, what a number of us have been challenging the private insurers to allow for some time: let the federal government into the health insurance business as a market participant. That’s all. If public insurance is really the services-strangling, cost-hoovering juggernaut its opponents suggest, they should be happy to watch it fail in the market, right?

…Ah, but now that the idea is actually on the table, we get to the REAL source of their caterwauling: private insurers are now insisting they will be put out of business by a public health insurance program.

To which I say, you know what? If you are in fact threatened by the existence of a program demonstrated to run at 25% less overhead than you do, that is not obsessed with profiting the elite few who own shares of it (BCBS, which is a nonprofit, excepted), you will either start providing a better product at a lower cost, or you will die. THAT is your beloved “free market,” which by careful gutting of regulations and enacting of special dispensations for the creations of your cartels you have striven so long to preserve. Don’t you DARE, now that the free market that has benefited you for so long threatens to ruin your existence, come wriggling and whinging to us, demanding that the market be made less free. Bed. Made. Lie.

(For the record: I do not actually like the Americare plan. Granted, I find it immensely preferable to doing nothing. But it’s still a piecemeal approach to a problem that needs a slash-and-burn: cut private insurers back to covering merely what the federal program will not, and create a state-governed federal single-payer program with a small premium charge for those who can afford to pay it, which are the vast majority of us – Medicare for all.)

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One Response to “Now We Get To It”

  1. “Were we all replaced by androids, perhaps”

    When genetic engineering and biomechanical implants become available and cheap, I plan to have my brain and spinal column transplanted into a completely synthetic body.

    Of course, I’ll be using the money I stashed under my mattress for this procedure, since the multitude of failing banks and non-existent decent and affordable healthcare would have swept away any other option.

    “private insurers are now insisting they will be put out of business by a public health insurance program.”

    Hello, what’s this?
    A capitalist industry cowering in fear of capitalism?
    Regardless of the source (public or private), healthcare is still a business. I.E. There is money to be made from sick people and the market will be dominated by whoever is willing to… *gasp*… compete! Now there’s a word we haven’t heard of in this country before.


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