Healthcare, Profits vs.
The health insurance industry is spending in excess of $1 million per day in
lobbyists and political contributions to try to convince Congress to maintain
the current health insurance system and not employ a "public option". Why?
Not because that is what's best for their customers or the American
public at large. They support the
current system because that is what is best for their stockholders (owners). It is their job to maximize profits for the
stockholders not to produce the best possible health outcomes for their
Recently a group of faith leaders went to Washington to meet with Congressional
leaders to let their opinions be heard.
Jim Winkler of the MethodistChurch sums it up best.
"Truly astonishing sums of money are found and spent every day on war, tax
cuts for the rich, executive compensation packages, bailouts for banks and
bankers. Any and all of those things may be justified depending on your point
We know, however, that we as a nation become parsimonious when it comes to
spending what is needed on health care, education, food, clothing and shelter
for our people. We ...urge our political leaders to stand strong on behalf of the
last, the least and the lost.
I pray we will use this health-care reform opportunity to insist this moment
in history be used to order our national priorities correctly. Our task is not
to pressure President Obama and Congress from the political right or left, but
from right over wrong.
...We can testify to the damage done to our people by a
broken health-care system. "
--Jim Winkler, General Secretary, United Methodist Board
of Church & Society
I would much rather give my health insurance premium to
some other entity, even if it's a government entity, if they were going to
provide for my healthcare as if my health, not their profits, was their top
We suffer from wait times, we are denied coverage for
specious reasons, we have to choose doctors from a list, we are charged
outrageous sums of money and with a few exceptions Americans have worse
healthcare results than most of the rest of the industrialized world. Mostly, those nations have some form of
government run system that works well and is generally well liked by the
Those who want the current system to continue must have
a monetary stake in it. Why else would
you want such a system to continue? The
insurance companies have created a perverted system in which they control all
the cards and spend as much as 20% of your premium dollars on administrative
costs and think of endless reasons to exclude your from coverage or to limit
your treatment. Insurance agents are
frequently treated to lavish trips to exotic locations for hitting high sales
For those who can afford to pay any amount and don't
have much in the way of health concerns I can see why all this talk about a
health care emergency in America
is a bunch of hooey. But for the rest of
us who cringe every time we pay our premium (or employees' premiums if you are
an employer), or don't go to the doctor when we are sick because of the cost,
or have been turned down for coverage for something even though we are all paid
up on our premiums, and especially for those go without coverage because of the
cost, we see the emergency and see it getting worse.
We don't entrust private profit-driven companies for our
police protection or fire protection.
Why would we entrust profit-driven corporations with the most important
thing in our life, our health? For those
companies the task, by definition, involves a conflict of interests. The conflict is between ensuring that the
patient is taken care of regardless of the cost, and the primary goal of
maximizing profits for the owners.
This is a momentous time in America. A time that will see historic change or a
continuation of the system that has led us down this path where profits matter
more than people. To paraphrase Ronald
Reagan, "Insurance companies can't fix the problem, they ARE the problem."
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