Health Insurance is the Wrong Tool for the Job

ssvs-kb_128Until you face a deadly illness, you will never fully know how terribly broken our current healthcare system has become with insurance companies as the gatekeeper. I faced a deadly illness when my first wife, Mazelle contracted pancreatic cancer. We had to fight the insurance companies at the same time we fought for her life. We lost…

I am a democrat and I know Obamacare is a mess and the House Healthcare bill was an equal mess. Putting insurance companies in charge of healthcare was always a terrible concept and in practice is a disgrace. In some states the insurance market has degraded to the point where there is for all practical purposes only a single insurance company. There are countless millions of people in the insurance marketplace who have seen their insurance rates double or triple while their coverage has degraded through shrinkage of their network of providers. PPOs have become EPOs which are really HMO’s in disguise. During the reign of Obamacare my rates for a bronze plan have gone from $250 to $1000 per month, and I am in perfect health! My fiancée who is a school teacher has seen the coverage of her employer provided plan shrink to the point that last year she went to an exchange to buy her own insurance so that she could keep the same network of providers.

These insurance companies are who Obamacare and the latest House Healthcare Plan want to keep in control of our healthcare. I am not saying insurance companies are terrible profit driven monsters. They are not! They are functioning as all for-profit businesses must function, and in the right soil, positive things often grow in our semi-free enterprise system. However, in the wrong soil horrors can and do flourish.

Insurance companies should not be in the business of paying for preventive healthcare. It’s not one of their strengths. They should be in the business of providing protection from catastrophe, period, end of sentence. Using medical insurance companies to provide general healthcare is like trying to use auto insurance companies to provide oil changes, brake repairs, and tune ups. It is simply the wrong tool for the job. If insurance companies are to be part of a national healthcare solution then it should be as providers of mandatory catastrophic coverage with the same fixed rate for all, no preexisting condition exclusions, and absolutely nothing more. All preventive healthcare should be though something universal like Medicare-for-all.

When will we rediscover in America that not everything is better when it’s done by a for-profit corporation. If you’re single-mindedly pro-business and own a hammer everything looks like a nail. There is no such thing as the utopian vision of a free-enterprise-system. It is an ideal conjured by economists that does not exist and can never exist. What we have instead is an imperfect human version—a poor reflection of that utopia—hampered by gears that have been worn thin by greed.

Our corporations are world-class innovators and peerless providers of discretionary products and services. Look at Apple, Google, or Tesla. At the same time our society’s nondiscretionary protective services are another matter. Corporations running our police, fire departments, military, and government conjures terrifying images from the past when this was tried and failed. At its extreme, we called it fascism and fought world wars to stamp it out.

The historic reality that corporations are not the right tool to run a society’s nondiscretionary protective services, is also true for our healthcare system. When you are seriously ill, at your most vulnerable, and have a loaded gun to your head, do you really want to beg a for-profit corporation for help when it will cost them more money to help you? Do you really think they can provide you with world class care when they have stockholders demanding ever greater profits? If you do then you are living in a bubble.

Want to do something? Sign this petition or contact your representatives.