Monday, December 14, 2009

Payment Limits for Health Care

The latest “health care reform” outrage is that the most recent Senate proposal does not prevent insurance companies from setting maximum payment limits in their policies. Auto insurance has always done that, and no one seems to consider that outrageous, but, for health insurance it is considered to be inhumane.

It rather bemuses me to listen to the advocates of “health care reform” who rant that because the insurance industry “does not care about its customers” that laws must be passed in two parts; part one is to require vastly increased payouts by insurance companies in behalf of those customers, and part two is reduced premiums charged to those customers.

Is there any other for-profit business for which we would demand unlimited payments for services and that their income be reduced?

In reality, the insurance companies have no reason to “care about their customers.” Their purpose for existence is to return a profit for their owners; in the case of corporations, their stockholders. If they are not doing that, then it does not matter what else they are doing, they have failed to meet the purpose of their very existence. Many people, and I am one, believe that businesses have a moral responsibility to treat their physical and social environment well and to be fair with their customers in the process of creating profit, and that if they cannot do that they should shut down because their business model itself is flawed. But insurance companies are not in the business of "caring about their customers."

It may be the case that for-profit health insurance has outlived its purpose, but its demise is not what we are pursuing, nor can we do so. Profit is almost a religion in this nation; virtually nothing is worth doing unless it is done for profit. Even government functions are increasingly “outsourced” to for-profit companies. Yet we are demanding that health insurance be managed on a for-profit basis with unlimited outgo and limited income.

If you want to do away with insurance companies, and I do, say so.

1 comment:

  1. While eliminating the insurance companies is one option that some countries have put in place, other countries have put in place appropriate regulations that control the escaling insurance premiums that the insurance companies have no incentive to control. Unfortunately, it does not seem as if the current bill will give either benefit and allow some protections for the American public.