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Healthcare, Profits vs. People

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Healthcare, Profits vs. People

The health insurance industry is spending in excess of $1 million per day in Washington on 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 customers.

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 of view.

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 priority.

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 citizens.

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 marks

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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A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo with an MBA in 1980, John went into the banking business from 1981-1991. John went into the gymnastics business with his wife, with whom he has two children, in 1992 and grew it enough (more...)

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