Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something you probably didn't hear on the news yesterday.

Los Angeles Times
Insurers make pitch for health coverage mandate
Associated Press
12:44 PM PST, November 19, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The health insurance industry said today it will support a national health care overhaul that requires them to accept all customers, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions -- but in return it wants lawmakers to mandate that everyone buy coverage...

...Obama's health plan calls for a health insurance exchange, a sort of government-run shopping center where customers could go to select from private plans or a plan administered by the federal government. Any insurer that wants to participate in that exchange must accept all customers regardless of pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Insurers will want to participate in the exchange because government subsidies will make it easier for millions of people to buy coverage from them. But the insurers say experience in the states shows the coverage guarantee often makes it harder for people to find coverage. That's because insurers raised premiums to meet the expense of covering all applicants with chronic health conditions.

"They ended up making the problem much worse," Ignagni said of the state efforts. "The data is clear about the need to have everyone part of the system."

...However, Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group, called the insurers' position self-serving.

"If consumer's can't afford coverage or refuse to buy it, they'll face tax penalties. Turning the U.S. government into a collection agency for for-profit health insurers is not universal health care, it's full employment for HMO executives," said Jerry Flanagan, the group's health care policy director.

The original intent of "insurance societies" was to be 1) non profit, and 2) charge everyone the SAME amount for a policy - which was the whole point of "spreading the risk" to begin with.

Neither of these things are going to happen with this plan. People who can't afford coverage due to inadequate income or pre-existing conditions aren't suddenly going to be able to afford it, and for-profit insurance companies will raise their rates, not lower them, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. I agree with the Consumer Watchdog group: It's a scam to make more profit for for-profit insurance.

The only real solution is the one EVERY OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED NATION is using today, a single-payer national health coverage. Contrary to what the Robber Barons would have you believe, people are not dropping like flies in those countries. As a matter of FACT, the US has a LOWER life expectancy than any of these countries. As you can see if you follow this link, the US is 30th in the world in life expectancy. People in BOSNIA live longer than people in the US. That's our "world class" healthcare the Robber Barons want you to continue to think is the "best in the world" because it's "free market." The FACTS show otherwise - the only thing the "free market" for-profit insurance has done for healthcare is kill millions of people before their time through denial of service and LACK of health care.

And this proposal, if it passes, will only make that worse - primarily because people will be afraid to even go to a doctor and pay their own way, for fear of being reported for not having insurance. Just like you are charged with not having auto insurance in most states, this will happen, and it will be a worse disgrace than is already occurring.

It's time to ditch the Robber Barons and cut the Billions-with-a-B dollars of profit they're making out of our pocketbooks. Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. Nobody should be profiting off of it. And in every decent country in the world, they aren't - which is why if you want a long lifespan, the US is the 30th place you want to live, not the first.

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