From: Mark Karlin
This is a fascinating piece from our recent archives about PBS censorship:
Private Health Insurance Companies Increase Healthcare Costs and Reduce Care: End Them
by Meg White
In the coming months, we will see the development of a new healthcare system in Washington. Concessions will be made on all sides and everyone is nervous about what those concessions might be.
While many of us hope for single-payer, universal healthcare, the fact is that the political will might not exist for it. However, no matter what the Obama Administration decides to call the final product, private health insurance companies need to disappear from the equation.
It seems the Obama Administration, and most congressional Democrats, are afraid of single-payer's association with socialized medicine. But doctors don't have to work for the government for this healthcare reform initiative to be successful. According to Washington Post correspondent T.R. Reid, private health insurance companies -- not private doctors -- need to go.
Reid's book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care, will be published this summer. Reid has been traveling the world learning about other countries' healthcare systems, while keeping in mind the idiosyncrasies of American patients and doctors, to try and figure out what will work best here.
Reid found that, while advances in healthcare are driving up costs all over the world, the astronomically high prices in this country originate with insurance companies.
Not only do insurance companies allow the pharmaceutical industry to charge Americans many times the prices others pay for the same medicine, but also internal costs take a big chunk of change as well. Administrative costs for public insurance systems hover around 3 percent, while private insurance companies spent 25-31 percent on such costs. Overhead among private insurers in the U.S. is nine times that of Canada's single-payer system.
U.S. health insurance companies have also institutionalized a reduction in quality of care. A lot of those extra administrative costs are spent on hiring people to try and deny coverage and claims.
The Sick Around America producers invited the president of the leading health insurance lobbyist group onto the program and essentially agreed with her statements on the need to keep the insurance companies in charge and force every American to sign up with them as a reform measure. (An interesting look at how this proposal works for and is being pushed by the health insurance lobby, check out this recent L.A. Times business column.)
Reid spoke with Corporate Crime Reporter about the disagreement: