Do we love to hate insurers?

San francisco, ca

While everyone likes to blame the insurers, it is a business and actually serves a purpose. They should not be allowed, and don't, to make huge profits (unlike the pharmaceutical industry). Many years ago, health insurance just covered hospital as that was considered catastrophic. The smart doctors started admitting patients for routine physicals - patients loved it as they didn't have to pay and the doctors could charge more. Insurers got smart and started coverage outpatient. So there is a delicate balance that works to keep things in check.

I admit the insurers want to make a modest profit. If they are making too big a profit why wouldn't some one come in and undercut them. Everyone cites 45,000/year die from being uninsured. However, over 200,000 die from medical errors - too much treatment.

Several years ago insurers weren't covering a chemo treatment but lost a multi-million dollar suit so started covering it. Later found out that the studies were falsified, this treatment was grueling and also killed people - but the docs and hosps were making huge profits on it. Again, a delicate balance.

Insurance companies aren't the good guys, but they aren't the bad guys either. The examples above show how providers game the system - the federal gov't doesn't have the incentive to check that - just look at Medicare.

The health care law should have been about more affordable care first - which it does nothing to control. Like a car manufacturer can't hold prices down when the price of tires and steel goes up, the insurers can't hold prices down as more and more is covered and the pharmas and providers are allowed to raise prices.

Joel L. Friedlander
Plainview, New York

There is no way that the insurance companies can charge enough premium to cover, say, a juvenile hemophiliac who requires $1,000.00 in medication every day. There are numerous other diseases that are too costly to cover, and requiring everyone to buy insurance isn't going to cover it. That is, if the insurance companies are going to make enough money to really profit from the business. Insurance companies aren't charities and so they cannot be expected to provide money for medical care if they cannot earn money for their workers. The answer is that the plan is going to result in the end of insurance and ultimately in National Health Care. Only the government can afford to cover a people who have eaten themselves into obesity and late onset diabetes, earlier and earlier cardiac problems, and ever increasing debilitating illnesses. Only National Health Care will work, and it will require that the fat, sloppy, uncontrolled people of this country take themselves in hand and work to better their own physical condition.

There was a story a few years ago about a tribe of Native Americans, Indians that is, who discovered that once they had taken on the White Man's ways they had a massive incidence of heart disease and diabetes. It was because their bodies required lots of physical exercise because of centuries of living on the edge. What they did was to institute a tribal exercise program for everyone in the tribe. The result was that their heart conditions improved and their incidence of diabetes decreased. They were an intelligent people and we can learn from them. We too, all of us, require exercise, since none of us comes from a past where physical labor was absent. We can improve our physical condition and reduce the costs of health care.

Also, since 80% of medicare monies are spent in the last few months of life, it is perhaps time for us to look into our own souls and when we reach the end, admit that we cannot live forever. I wonder if we could ever do that. Is life so sweet as to be purchased at the cost of chains and slavery for our progeny?

jeff f
charlestown, MA

Most ignore the fact that the availability of quality medical professionals (i.e. doctors), not the availability of insurance, will ultimately determine the availability and adequacy of health care. What good is the insurance if the internist or specialist is not accepting new patients? What good is insurance that will pay for a joint replacement or open heart surgery, etc. if there is no board certified surgeon within hundreds of miles and/or you cannot get an appointment with the surgeon for 6 months or more? As one surgeon and one expert in the financial end of healthcare recently told me, in due course we'll be going to India or to new surgical centers that will be set up in the Caribbean, and many will continue to be unable to get top-notch healthcare in the US if for no other reason than that THERE WILL NOT BE ENOUGH DOCTORS. We will then discover it's not about paying for healthcare, it's about demand exceeding supply (old-fashioned market economics).

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