Talking About Health Care Reform: Insurance Must Die
Anybody who works in health care wants the reform to go their way. Everybody who's anybody is throwing in their ideas. Some are good ideas. Some are not fleshed out. AHIP has a plan as does Max Baucus.
It's going to be a fight to get effective health care reform. No one wants to give up anything. The only thing the pundits, lawmakers, AHIP seem to agree on is that health insurance companies need to survive the transition.
The rest of us know that the Health Insurance Companies, in their present form and practice need to go.
Health insurance rates increased in 2008 despite the economic woes of the nation. Insurers are seeing a drop of their customers of the likes they have never seen. Insurance companies and AHIP are banking on a mandate that demands we buy health insurance to save their sorry asses in 2009.
Health Insurance Rates increased across the board. Worker's Compensation rates are going up. Medicaid is shedding people from their rolls as their budgets tighten. Large employers are shifting the costs of their retirees by getting them onto, so called, Medicare Advantage Plans. Over the last few years, employers have increased deductibles and co-pays, then excluded more services; all to keep within their budgets for health care. Shifting costs to employees is old news. Now, more employers are guilty of underinsuring their employees. Insurance companies are at the end of their greedy rope. Employers continue to look for ways to cut costs and fail to see health insurance companies as part of the problem. Multiple studies and testimony in front of government bodies have said that shifting costs to health care consumers is not a good approach and that meaningful health care reform is desparately needed.
Their only hope is for a Health Insurance Bailout Bill that will take the form of a government mandate that we all be forced to buy insurance. They say most adults support a mandate, but these people who site these studies fail to read the details and they only look at it from the health insurer's point of view and exclude physicians.
What do insurers want? They want a mandate that will force people onto the more profitable, but largely worthless, individual health insurance policies. They will trade giving up pre-existing conidition clauses, but that's all. Karen Ignagni does know what to say. AHIP sponsored a listening tour and she writes about what she learned.
A new national strategy to drive down costs should include: changing the physician payment structure to better reward value and quality; expanding programs that coordinate care for patients with chronic conditions; promoting prevention, wellness, and early intervention; and making investments in health-information technology.
...but, she represents a predator sector of our economy that has exploited people, killed people and maimed people; so, I ask, who's values and what quality standard are you arguing for? She continues her column and reasonably states:
We came away from the listening tour convinced that the American people are ready for a renewed national conversation on health care. We also believe there is far more common ground on health-care issues than is widely perceived. Most Americans are supportive of a blended public-private health-care system, and they want both sectors — the government and the marketplace — to work better and cost less. Real reforms are within reach. The nation’s current economic challenges only reinforce the need to act.
Ignagni is the head of a group of companies that has forced people to live in pain and denied them relief while they reward their executives with $20 million dollar bonuses and the incredible rewards of stock options and warrants. What she heard is that the American people are fed up with health insurance companies that have doubled their premium rates in 8 years. She heard the frustration of the American people who want care, but are denied it whether by the companies she represents or by the economy that makes using their insurance impossible. Can I believe her when she writes that there's common ground between insurance companies and insureds? After reviewing insurance company financial performance I have concluded,
No, I cannot and you shouldn't either. Ignagni continues with:
Are health-insurance companies committed to this cause? The answer is emphatically yes. As an important part of the health-care delivery system, we understand that we have a special responsibility as the nation takes up health-care reform. We intend to earn our seat at the table. We will offer solutions, collaborate with others, and stay at it until the job is done.
She undoubtedly is sincere when she writes that health-insurance companies are committed to their cause of shaping health care reform to meet their needs. What really gets me is that health insurance companies were fine with the existing system while the getting was good. They never have had much sympathy for the 47 million uninsured unless they could get a government hand out to insure them via SCHIP. She wants our trust in guiding and shaping health care reform? I see their ploy clearly. They have a "special responsibility" to find a way to preserve their corporate viability and profits.
I'm not fooled. Ignagni represents companies that want a mandate that requires everyone to buy, at the minimum, a junk insurance policy that insurers want made available across state lines without having to meet individual state requirements. These junk plans will cover less and actually increase what the consumer pays for health care. She says she wants to reduce the $2.4 trillion outlay for health care, but she wants no reduction in the funds flowing to health insurers.
Ignagni wants to rein in health care costs, but the insurers don't want any restrictions on how they spend premium dollars or award executive pay. Her solution to health care reductions is to make deeper cuts to providers' reimbursements. She has ignored what she heard in her listening tour (that insurance companies, in their present form, need to die). The American people want to reduce what they pay health insurers, they want more than 85% of premium dollars spent on claims and a sensible reimbursement system; but Karen Ignagni wasn't listening. She represents companies that want reform in name only - they want to carry on with a little change as possible and continue their murderous ways - that's more profitable for them.