Redline Doc

Aug 13, 2009 - 3 minute read - Universal HealthCare

All the Michaels are dead...

How did we allow the discussion to move away from health to how we should save the health insurance industry? How did that conversation move from a public healthy option to saving the profits of some of the most profitable companies in the world?

As there is increasing talk in Washington about the AMA time clicks by. And to whom are the insurance companies responsible? Ahhh shareholders, the same folks who brought us the current bank debacle, to whom we the people pay extravagant sums so that they can support CEO’s in a style to which they’d like to become accustomed. As there is continued agglomeration of insurers, they flock together, eat each other, thereby decreasing real market competition, in the guise of bringing lower cost to the consumer.

In medicine we speak for the patient. In insurance they speak for the money. There’s an inherent split here. When it comes down to it, shall we authorize care OR shall we make 0.02 for the stockholder, the stockholder and CEO options always win out. Duplicity is the name of the game. When Hurricane Andrew roared across the South Florida Peninsula devastating the area. Aetna group was the major insurer holding more than 4 billion dollars in losses. That past year they golden parachuted their worthy CEO for 987 MILLION dollars (or there abouts) and then cried the blues that they didn’t have monies for claims. Hmmmm

I personally have run into the dealings of insurers. Serveral years ago one of the Connecticut health insurers sent out a note that all billing should henceforth be sent to a POB in Enfield. We all did send claims there and as weeks went by and no claims information was forthcoming, we were told that the claims were lost or that they should be re-submitted. Whoops. Someone bad in the company made an error and there is no POB in Enfield for our claims. We’re really sorry but you’ll have to re-submit them all over again. Hmmmm

I’ve had several friends who’ve suffered death at the hands of insurers, not in any direct sort of way but the usual games playing with existing conditions and difficult to access portals.

Working in a safety net group we see patients bounced from one provider to another, mostly based on non paying insurances. I think most of us are insulted when the insurers talk about the Medicare program, and how it fails to work. It succeeds with a 5% overhead, a draconian fraud unit, and coverage that most of us envy. Are there faults? Are there fixes to be made? Of course. We can in one swoop, make our system succeed. It needs a government backed program, devoid of usurious profits, not socialism, just good medicine.

We need to recenter the discussion, not about death notes but about how to prevent the needless deaths from an unwieldy bloated system which spends much of its monies not on patient well being but on corporate well being. Straight speak or soon, all the Michaels will be dead