US Health Insurance Truths Emerge

As the American government slithers through the mud with the health insurance industry towards universal health coverage certain truths about private insurance that supporters of public health care know, and remarkably, pro-market advocates continue to deny, are emerging.

Mark Bertolini, CEO Aetna Insurance, one of America’s largest health insurance companies, said that Obama’s Affordable Care Act was “the end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here”. The reason: the ban on medical underwriting, or companies being able to deny health insurance based on pre-existing conditions or risk factors.

For-profit health care, both insurance and delivery, like other businesses, makes money by limiting risk and maximizing returns. This profitability rule conflicts fundamentally with the belief that all members of society have a right to health care. A person’s health is inherently risky.

Bertolini’s statement indicates the obvious: the preferred business model for private corporations needs to change and companies need to be compensated by the public if forced to take on risk they would otherwise avoid. While countries with universal health coverage can make openings for private businesses, and the United States is doing its best to ensure the insurance industry benefits from increased population coverage, over time for-profit involvement increase s the cost and inefficiently of universal health care. Companies want to be compensated for providing services that go against their economic grain. This approach is unsustainable but it has the support of pro-market governments because….they are pro-market. There is no other benefit.

The link to the Bertolini story is:

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