True Capitalists believe in forced collectivism:
In the individual market especially, the companies say, healthier people tend to opt out, leaving sicker people with higher medical costs for the insurers to cover. That is a big reason the insurance industry continues to push for mandatory coverage for everyone.
“Increases in the cost of coverage in the individual market shine a spotlight on the urgent need to reduce the growth of underlying medical costs and to bring everyone into the system,” said Karen Ignagni, the chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, in a statement. [The New York Times]
Braly said it was important to “refocus the debate on health care reform.” She said she would support a plan requiring everyone to buy health insurance while at the same time guaranteeing everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions, would get coverage and would not be excluded. [WTHR]
Why is that their priority now? Could it be that the old collectivist model is falling apart?
There is no question that the insurers often turn to the individual and small group markets to raise rates because that is where they have the clout — in contrast to the resistance they often encounter when trying to raise the fees they charge large employers. And individuals, in particular, often have few alternatives if they have a pre-existing medical condition, because no other carrier will sell them a policy.
Meanwhile, insurers’ pricing power is dwindling in their core business of providing coverage to large companies. Rather than selling insurance to big employers, they tend to be paid only to handle claims, and that business has become increasingly competitive as the companies fight over market share.
Maybe health insurance companies need help from a National Socialist government in order to be profitable:
Braly explained that her company’s premium increases on individual policies were based on several circumstances: One, people are getting older. Two, people are becoming unemployed, and if they’re healthy they’re dropping out of the insurance pool. Three, the cost of diagnostic testing is soaring.
Implicitly, she begged for the government to help — put people back to work so they’re eligible for cheaper group plans, and clamp down on costs. (Not even the government can stop people for growing older.) Without that help, she intimated, premiums are going to keep rising sharply and WellPoint’s already meager profits are going to be hammered worse.
In delivering this appeal, Braly was forced to make an implicit admission that her industry almost never makes explicitly: The nation’s health coverage system is so hopelessly broken that even the health insurance industry can’t handle it anymore.
Her testimony, and other statements she and other WellPoint executives have made, suggests that insurers can’t profitably manage through periods of high unemployment. They can’t price policies in a way that keeps healthy young people in the same pool as older people, producing a mockery of the very point of indemnity insurance. Despite a decade of unobstructed consolidation, which was sold to regulators as a way to control healthcare costs by creating mega-insurers like hers, her industry can’t control healthcare costs. [What do we need health insurers for anyway?]
What if we were to just cut 20% of all health care costs right off the top?
BRALY: When people think about premiums, they`re not thinking about the fact that over 80 percent of those premiums are going right to the cost of the doctor or the hospital, the suppliers of health care because what`s happening — we`re actually becoming more efficient as businesses, as insurance companies, but at the same time, that underlying cost of care keeps going up. [PBS]
That’s right: Nearly 20% of your out-of-pocket health care cost (which is mostly your insurance premiums) does not go to a local entrepreneur who spent six years in medical school and is directly responsible for keeping you alive–it goes to a bunch of bureaucrats who badger him to rush you through his office and stuff you with overpriced drugs.
Let’s just be clear on this: the purpose of health insurance is to keep healthy people from becoming chronically ill. More specifically, the purpose is to continue to receive premiums from people who can pay their premiums (or whose premiums are paid for by their employer), while not covering anyone whose premiums will not be paid for, and not paying out more than a set amount in claims. The actuarial tables can account for a certain amount of claims payouts for healthy middle-class working people, but some things such as chronic illness, congenital disorders, long-term disability, and old age simply are not acceptable.
Health insurance is not charity; it is not supposed to pay for “cures” or any kind of long-term care; it is not a right; it is not designed for anyone who is stupid, lazy, fat, anorexic, a smoker, a drinker , a drug abuser, mentally ill, living next to a toxic waste dump, or for any reason has an unhealthy lifestyle; it requires policyholders to be educated, employed, and middle-class; and it requires a large pool paying in and a very small number receiving payouts. It is a financial instrument for investment.
THE PURPOSE OF HEALTH INSURANCE IS NOT TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE FOR SICK PEOPLE. The purpose is to insure healthy people against unforeseen risks to their health, and to generate a large enough pool of money to make investments that will yield better than average returns. And of course, it is supposed to employ a number of people to push the paper and deny the claims; and it may also try to pay out dividends to investors.
If you think it is important to provide health care to sick people, why would you babble on and on about expanding health insurance coverage? You would not, of course, unless you have a financial stake in the success of health insurance companies. So, any government policy that promotes or requires health insurance and limits health care is de facto designed to favor the strong, the young, the employable, and the middle class, while it is designed to kill the poor, the sick, the old, the stupid, and the defective.