There is already tremendous rationing of care in America despite the fact that our nation has by far the world’s highest per capita healthcare expenditures. Why? Because we have chosen to administer our system through private insurance companies. Their goal is to benefit shareholders and employees—particularly top executives, many of whom have seven-figure incomes. To turn a profit, they must exclude those individuals who are the most likely to require expensive care. This is the way that the healthcare free-market works, maximizing returns for shareholders, not helping patients.
If you don’t believe we have rationing, talk to the demoralized doctors who spend so much of their time trying to persuade insurance companies to provide their recommended care to sick patients. A majority, or 58%, of physician respondents in a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine support an expansion of Medicare to Americans ages 55 to 64. This route was proposed, but then quickly dropped during the debates over health reform. At a minimum, Congress should have made this interim move toward universal coverage. Then, we could have expanded Medicare each year to cover more of the population until truly universal coverage was achieved and costs contained.
Iwonder, does Congress have a clue about what healthcare coverage really covers anymore? Has Congress tried calling customer service at any of the healthcare giants like Humana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, UnitedHealth, to name a few? I encourage anyone to call the toll-free number listed for any of the giant healthcare companies and just ask where that representative is located. Nine times out of 10, they are going to tell you they are offshore, in the Philippines, or another country.
OK, so here’s the scenario: Americans purchase health insurance, and pay outrageous premiums that will pay for you to have one routine preventive exam plus a few screenings each year. If you get sick and see that same doctor and he files a claim for treating your illness, you will most likely be sent a bill telling you your insurance left you a balance toward your exorbitant deductible. So, here you are an American working and paying taxes and your huge health insurance premium. You get very little coverage and you can’t even get a job at one of these giant health insurance Write us with your comments. To send us a letter electronically, go to modernhealthcare.com/letters; by fax, 312-280-3183.