Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You Get What You Pay For

The health insurance industry doesn't want all those sick people showing up wanting to buy insurance when they are already sick. Or injured. Or diabetic. Or asthmatic. Or agoraphobic. They would very much prefer it if nice, healthy Americans would buy insurance and keep paying those premiums while they wait for that day that, heaven forbid, they became sick. Or injured. Or diabetic. Or asthmatic. Or agoraphobic.
Insurance companies want you to know that health care legislation will drive up premiums for people who already have coverage. The question that comes to my mind is this: How could it drive them any further or faster than they have without reform for the past ten years? Health care costs continue to rise faster than the Gross Domestic Product. Even if you left your economics degree in your other pair of scrubs, that doesn't sound good, does it? Over the ten years, employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have increased one hundred and thirty-one percent. Insurance companies want us to know that legislation will probably just make that worse. Insurers are now raising possibilities such as higher premiums for people who postpone getting coverage, or waiting periods for those who ignore a proposed government requirement to get insurance and later have a change of heart.
There will be no changing of hearts until someone figures out how insurance companies can continue to make money. Not that these companies live in the rarefied air of your Exxons, at nine percent profit, or Google hovering somewhere near twenty-five percent. Health insurance companies have a profit margin that was a very modest three and a half percent over the past year. As an industry, health insurance sits eighty-seventh out of two hundred and fifteen. Still "profit" means "making money," and just how much money can be made on getting every American health care insurance? Even if they are sick? Something tells me there's a way to make this work for everyone. Even the agoraphobics.

1 comment:

Mrs. Id said...

Maybe they can learn from the charter school movement, which has been trying to figure out in the last 10 years how to make a profit on education. Yeah! If the health insurance industry had more billionaire philanthropists who loan money instead of giving it away, they could figure out how to keep America capitalistic, not communistic!