The Insurance Companies

Bulworth: Yo, everybody gonna get sick someday / But nobody knows how they gonna pay / Health care, managed care, HMOs / Ain’t gonna work, no sir, not those / ‘Cause the thing that’s the same in every one of these / Is these motherfuckers there, the insurance companies!
Cheryl and Tanya: Insurance! Insurance!

— Bulworth

There’s no reason to tolerate the outrageous profits these companies turn, there’s no reason to tolerate the outrageous rates they charge, and there’s no reason politicians should have to lie back and think of their bank accounts when dealing with it. There’s no reason any and all of it can’t be changed, and changed starting right now. “That’s the way it is” is not an answer to any question about any of the ways we make health care a business, and “that’s the way it’s always been” is not and never has been either a reason or an excuse.

There’s no reason, at all, for any of the way we do business in health care in this country and I for one am glad that the Democrats we elected and put in power are going to start doing something about it:

Good news: Harry Gets It. To quote: “The insurance industry is the Enemy.” This was part of his response to questions about health care. Although he won’t oppose it, as it’s “something,” he’s not impressed with Arnold’s bill, because he’s worried about the Mass. example, that is, forcing the poor into plans doesn’t really help anything and in fact hurts those who can’t afford ridiculous premiums. If Harry had his way, people in this country would enjoy “the same plan as [he] has.” Mmmm!

Reid believes that the heart of the problem is that insurance companies, “like the only other group to enjoy them, baseball” are overly powerful as a result of exemptions of the anti-trust laws that would otherwise prevent them from colluding to fix prices. I am so ignorant of a lot of things, and I had no idea that the McCaren-Ferguson bill of 1945 was in force. Harry hates it, that much is clear. He asks you to start demanding more discussion about the problems this condition creates in letters to the editor, phone calls to your reps, etc. But as others have noted, this is a declaration of war on the insurance industry. Not to gush, but this is what we’ve been waiting for, peeps.

You know, every time the health care debate starts again people start yammering on about how it’s just too hard to do anything but let poor people die and rich people live. That’s not what they say but it is what they’re saying. Can we for once not have that incredibly obtuse conversation? Just fix it. Spend half as much time fixing it as you spend fapping around telling me why it can’t be fixed. Fix it.


15 thoughts on “The Insurance Companies

  1. I met them first at Mentor Magic on the Wednesday, and on the Saturday we met again for me to carry out an entire tyre kicking exercise. I needed to satisfy myself if these guys were the real deal and whether their product was the real thing. Was it saleable? I. e. was the price they’ d charge realistic and was there sufficient profit margin? The next questions were over patents and the quality of installation, i. e. does it look right. They passed that test, and I arranged to meet them the following…

  2. And come to think of it, after Katrina why are profits for property and casualty insurers up so high? Increasing premiums without actually paying out anything? Hmmmm?

  3. The $44 billion profits, up 50% over last year are just the property and casualty insurers. Anyone got a link to what the numbers are for health care insurers?

  4. milwaukee has a socialistic system, set up by past SOCIALIST mayors. i am an ‘indigent’ with a ‘pre-existing’ condition which would make insurance impossible. it would be good if at least this could be federalised.
    but i am sure GM and other car makers would push SPS.

  5. The only people who like the health insurance industry are the people who own stock–or stock options–in the companies.
    The VA system is, from what I can tell, an excellent model of health care. There’s no reason that can’t be expanded to non-veterans, is there?
    As for Medicare, many supplemental insurance companies make their money off of scaring people about Medicare not covering stuff and not being a good system. To extend health care based on Medicare, we’ll have to overcome that image. Here’s my take:
    “We can’t expand Medicare! Medicare doesn’t work!”
    Response: “Medicare can and does work fine if the asshole Republicans will stop cutting its funding.”
    As far as healthcare as an entitlement, you could probably get some numbers that show that health care “taxes” in the form of required insurance payments from employers are way higher than the needed tax increases to fund Medicare. My health insurance payments and my employer’s contributions add up to about 18% of my salary. I would be quite happy to have an 8% tax increase in exchange.

  6. I’m not sure if the poster meant to say what he did with that last line, but it should be noted that “fapping” means “masturbation”. Perhaps he meant to say that, indicating that it’s a waste of time. Or maybe he meant to use a random, meaningless term. But either way, I just got the image of Kevin Drum and Jonah Goldberg masturbating, and I’m very angry about that.

  7. Ideally Congress will develop a good universal health care program and pass it as a package. But, this is the real world. A complete package of a health care program will be opposed by everyone, and will get about 10 votes in the Senate and House combined. There are just too many details, any one of which will arouse some opposition.
    Before anything else can be done we need to firmly establish the position that health care is an entitlement – all Americans are entitled to adequate health care. Expanding Medicare to cover everyone does just that.
    Once we get that principle accepted it is infinitely easier to begin making the health care package we are all entitled to be a package that does what it needs to do. And, in my mind, the first step is to get the insurance industry out of the loop, totally. That means Medicare would be comprehensive and would cover actual costs, not just a fraction of the costs. That leaves no crumbs for the insurance companies to build profits on.
    Then, it is an easy argument that preventative care is a cost cutting way to operate such a system – it is many times cheaper to prevent health problems than to treat them. And, on and on, until we end up with a universal health care program that we need.
    The option is not getting the program all in one fell swoop, but not getting any program at all beyond more tax cuts.

  8. if shakespeare was around, he wouldn’t be killing the lawyers first. they’d be 2nd after heath insuranceracketeers.

  9. And if nothing else, “sensible liberals” need some crazy people waving statistics and torches …
    I volunteer for that job. 🙂

  10. Why be incremental? If you count dead bodies — if you compare our infant mortality rate with most other countries, take the difference, and do the math — you’ll see that something about our health care system kills more babies every year than terrorists have in 200 years (I got about 8000/yr, compared to the Canadian rate). Pile on top of that the reduced life expectancy that follows that first year, and the greater percentage of that reduced lifespan spent ill (again, compared to 20+ other countries, all spending less). What favor has the health insurance industry ever done us? The numbers say we’re paying extra for a shitty product.
    And if nothing else, “sensible liberals” need some crazy people waving statistics and torches to make them look “sensible” while still pushing that would actually be an improvement. So don’t hold back, don’t be sensible. Those fuckers are killing us early and we’re paying extra for it. To hell with them (especially all the ones in CT that re-elected that prune Lieberman).

  11. Nobody likes insurance companies. I grew up near Hartford, CT “The Insurance City” and even people who lived and worked for the companies thought they were mostly bastards.
    Some Presidential candidate should make a speech saying “I love insurance if it’s for your property or for your wages or for your life. But if it’s for your health I have a problem with it. So if you work for a health insurance company look for a new job, if you own health insurance stock – sell it. Because I’m going to solve the health care problem in this country by ending the obscene practice of making billions of dollars leveraging the sickness of our neighbors.”
    That person will have the people behind them.

  12. Congress can fix it incrementally, which is probably the only way to get a good final product. First, make Medicare apply to everyone, of all ages. Use the Income Tax program to pick up the nominal tax needed to cover the program. Of course Medicare isn’t an adequate program, and seniors all need a Medicare Supplement insurance policy to cover the big shortfall in coverage, so that leaves the insurance industry with that bone. So, next would be an expansion of coverage by Medicare to make the Supplements unnecessary. Then, later, further expansion of coverage to include preventative care, etc. We desperately need the foot in the door first.

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