Readers reminded the devil’s in the detail with health insurance

Posted: August 14, 2016 in Medical Industrial Complex
Tags: , , , , ,

“If those unnecessary medical tests don’t kill you, perhaps your medical insurance bill will!” So begins a chapter devoted to the health insurance sector in our contentious book, MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures.

 

 

Titled “Health insurance – the devil’s in the detail,” the chapter reminds readers that allegations of corruption have been swirling around health insurers for years. An excerpt from the chapter follows…

One who intimately knows how the health insurance sector works is American Wendell Potter, a health insurance insider who shares his knowledge of the industry in a revealing article posted on the WantToKnow.info blog site. In it, Wendell claims he was “in a unique position to see not only how Wall Street analysts and investors influence decisions insurance company executives make but also how the industry has carried out behind-the-scenes PR and lobbying campaigns to kill or weaken any health care reform efforts that threatened insurers’ profitability”.

Wendell continues, “I also have seen how the industry’s practices – especially those of the for-profit insurers that are under constant pressure from Wall Street to meet their profit expectations – have contributed to the tragedy of nearly 50 million people being uninsured as well as to the growing number of Americans who, because insurers now require them to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in – are underinsured. An estimated 25 million of us now fall into that category.

“What I saw happening over the past few years was a steady movement away from the concept of insurance and toward ‘individual responsibility,’ a term used a lot by insurers and their ideological allies. This is playing out as a continuous shifting of the financial burden of health care costs away from insurers and employers and onto the backs of individuals”.

Wendell concludes that rising medical bills mean fewer sick people are visiting their doctor or collecting prescriptions, and he predicts the future for many who become seriously ill will involve bankruptcy or foreclosure on their homes.

And, of course, that’s exactly what’s happening.

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“Unless you’re a Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, you’re one illness away from financial ruin in this country.” –American primary care physician Dr. Steffie Woolhandler

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When it comes to the US medical system at least, there is no “universal healthcare” service that covers every citizen. In theory, access to cheap or else employer-sponsored private health insurance is supposed to ensure virtually everybody’s covered, but what about the uninsured and the underinsured?

Call us naïve, but it seems to us that any civilized society should at least provide basic healthcare to every man, woman and child. Relying on private insurance seems like an obvious recipe for disaster. This insurance-to-fill-the-gaps approach guarantees collateral damage, including untold deaths.

Many politicians claim it would be far too expensive to provide universal healthcare, but don’t blink an eye as they sign off on several trillion dollars annually on military expenditure to keep the perpetual war machine rolling. Go figure!

Let’s not forget that many countries – like Japan, Australia, the UK, Sweden and New Zealand to name but a few – comfortably provide free, or at least heavily subsidized, healthcare for all their citizens without too much financial discomfort. So the argument from American politicians that universal healthcare would bankrupt the country just does not hold up.

This healthcare disparity between the US and the rest of the (developed) world was covered in no uncertain terms in a June 2012 article in The Atlantic. Headlined ‘Here’s a Map of the Countries That Provide Universal Health Care (America’s Still Not on It)’ the article’s very first line says it all. It reads, “The U.S. stands almost entirely alone among developed nations that lack universal health care.”

The map referred to is a world map that highlighted those countries which provided (and still provide) free or heavily subsidized healthcare for all their citizens. Around half the world’s countries were highlighted, which no doubt surprised many American readers.

The article points out that universal healthcare is available “from Europe to the Asian powerhouses to South America’s southern cone to the Anglophone states of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The only developed outliers are a few still-troubled Balkan states, the Soviet-style autocracy of Belarus, and the U.S. of A., the richest nation in the world”.

T.B.C.

 

Medical Industrial Complex  is Book #3 in The Underground Knowledge Series  and is available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX-Suppressed-Underground-ebook/dp/B00Y8Y3TUM/

 

MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 3)

 

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