Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why I Hate Insurance Companies

I support the general concept of insurance--I get that there is a benefit to pooling resources and all--but when you add the profit motive in there, you end up on pretty shaky moral ground.

Case in point, Blue Cross of California:
Facing a torrent of criticism Tuesday, Blue Cross of California abruptly halted its practice of asking physicians in a letter to look for medical conditions that could be used to cancel patients' insurance coverage.

[ ... ]

In a letter to physicians last week, Blue Cross asked the doctors to "identify members who have failed to disclose medical conditions on their applications that may be considered pre-existing."

It went on to say that "Blue Cross has the right to cancel a member's policy back to its effective date for failure to disclose material medical history."

Way to go, Blue Cross. Asking doctors to snitch on their patients kinda drives a wedge in the doctor-patient relationship, doesn’t it? I don’t know too many doctors who went to medical school so they could serve the needs of for-profit insurance companies, not people seeking healthcare.

Insurance companies make their profit by ensuring you don't get the healthcare you need. That’s just wrong. We need to take the profit motive out of the healthcare mix, because it doesn't work. If that sounds all scary “socialist,” then fine.

Healthcare is a mess in this country, and one of the primary reasons is because it’s been treated as a for-profit, money-making enterprise. I happen to think that’s immoral. I think it’s wrong to profit from the suffering, disease, and general healthcare needs of people. Healthcare isn’t a luxury item, it’s a necessity.

This is why I’m against the whole “marketplace” argument related to healthcare. When a doctor says I need x, y or z, I don’t want to shop around. I’m not buying laundry detergent, I’m trying to get healthy. I’m not a “consumer,” I’m someone who wants to feel better, or else I’m trying to keep from getting sick later.

The way we approach healthcare in this country is truly idiotic.