Monday, March 29, 2010

Insurers: We Don't Have To Cover Your Kids Yet

At what point might we be willing to question our unconscious social creed that corporate profit is a suitable engine for providing necessary human services such as health care?

This is, after all, why there was never any possibility of our Congress voting on universal public health insurance. No way. We are supposed to trust in the beneficence of the free market system. So we got a "health reform" bill that mandated 30 million new paying customers for the private insurance industry, while instituting a few reforms of that business. Advocates of an overhaul were told to shut up and be happy with the bill's salutory features, like the fact that kids with pre-existing conditions have to be covered, starting this year.

Except maybe they don't. The New York Times reports.

William G. Schiffbauer, a lawyer whose clients include employers and insurance companies, said: “The fine print differs from the larger political message. If a company sells insurance, it will have to cover pre-existing conditions for children covered by the policy. But it does not have to sell to somebody with a pre-existing condition. And the insurer could increase premiums to cover the additional cost.”

Senators are shocked -- shocked! -- that insurance companies would already be seeking loopholes to deny coverage between now and 2014, when they will be required to accept everyone who applies for coverage. (Barring any additional loopholes, that is.)

Pardon my childish sarcasm, but -- duh! Private insurance companies are not in the business of helping human beings. They are in the business of making money and, absurdly, that means they profit by denying coverage, denying claims, withholding reimbursements, and raising premiums.

How is it that patriotic Americans believe this is the best we can do for our own people? It happens because we can't let go of the idea that competitive, private business will somehow deliver efficiency, cost control, and fair distribution of health services.

It simply is not true. Another way must be developed. Other ways have been developed, in other countries. We could study these and improve on them. But for some reason, maybe national pride, we won't do that.

Instead, we debate the profitability of helping sick children who require expensive medical care.

We're #1....we're #1...


quid said...

Their position is not rational. It will not stand.
Have faith.


Oh, we're #38.

Algernon said...

Well... I have faith in what has repeated itself in our history. Some pretty amazing things have been allowed to stand.