Saturday, October 24, 2009

The sequel: Evil insurance company repents

Never underestimate the power of a determined family, the press, the internet, and an outraged public. Guardian Life has changed its policy and apologized to the Pearl family. Ian Pearl will continue to receive the home care he needs. Read more about the repentant insurer at CNN or at the Washington Times, the newspaper that broke the story last week.

When I first commented on the Times story, I argued that the insurer was simply doing what for-profit insurers must do. I wrote, "What is evil is this: that we Americans allow our health-care system to be financed by industries that exist to make a profit. No other rich capitalist nation does this."

After hearing from Matthew Pearl, Ian's brother, I realized that Guardian Life had gone beyond the necessary evils of for-profit health care. I then wrote: "I now understand that the Guardian Life Insurance Company grossly misbehaved, even by the lax standards of the health insurance industry, and should not be excused for any reason."

However, Guardian Life's repentance does not get insurance companies off the hook, nor does it excuse the inherent evils in a health-care system based on profit. Insurers will continue to deny coverage where it is most needed. Most families will be unable to challenge insurers with the skill and tenacity of the Pearls. The cost of insurance will continue to rise, along with the number of uninsured...
  • unless Republicans stop whining and start crafting serious solutions.
  • unless Democrats stop bickering and start agreeing on a proposal with teeth.
  • unless everyone in Congress has the guts to forget about all those meals and junkets and campaign finance contributions lavished on them by the health-care industry, and votes for what is right and good and necessary.
You can contact your U.S. Representative here and your U.S. Senators here.


the other DWS said...

Lavonne, The ins co only repents because they got caught. so they'll correct this one case due to the public spotlight on them. What about all their other customers/victims. What'cha bet the company officers keep their jobs and get their bonuses because of the profits wrung from the blood and bones of their victims. And this is just one of how many insurance companies? Consider too that the insurance industry is just one component of a capitalistic finance system that has run amok

Anonymous said...

Apparently you’ve been euphemized. The propaganda machine got ya. The meanings of words have been changed, and therefore, the merits and faults of ideas have become murky. Please allow me to explain.

Your distaste of “for profit” insurance companies is no doubt caused by what you’re seeing around us. And I’m with ya. I hate to see corporations making OBSCENE profits by ignoring/causing suffering…especially when the purpose of their contracts (in the customer's mind), the very reason for their existence, is to ease suffering. This is indeed evil. But what exactly is it that makes this kind of evil possible?

What you’re seeing in America’s healthcare system today (and over the last 50 years) is a cross between fascism and socialism. It is not capitalism, and capitalism is not the only ideology that requires profits.

In a fascist system, gov't conspires with industry, creating laws (regulation) that essentially help them stamp out competition. Gov’t officials enjoy the bribe money from the lobbyists and corporations enjoy a competitive edge over their competition. Over time, the little companies die off, leaving only the big, impersonal companies, who increasingly gain a monopoly. Once this happens, indeed, even before this happens, the customer is no longer in the driver’s seat. Prices will most certainly rise and quality of service will fall.

The public, naturally, doesn’t like what they see. So gov’t blames it on the greedy corporations. They use villainize terms like “capitalism” and “for profit,” and they suggest a gov’t takeover of the industry. And this, of course, is full blown socialism. If the public is sufficiently miseducated, unable to see through the deception, they’ll fall for it. As socialism replaces fascism, the downhill slide continues. Quality most certainly will continue going down, maybe even faster than before. The service provided appears to be free, since people don’t pay when receiving service and certainly don't make full account of their tax dollars. But the taxes required to support a fully socialist system becomes enormously more than the premiums it would take to support an equivalent private system...even a fascist system. At some point, the system will cave in on itself, intensifying the suffering of the people even more.
You speak of “for profit” as though there are only two choices: “for profit” and “not for profit.” But here's the deal: Fascist corporations aren’t “for profit.” They want obscene profits. What you're seeing around you shouldn't be blamed on capitalism, but on fascism.

If we had lots of competitive "for profit" companies, profits would actually be held much lower while quality would be sustained at a higher level. Insurance companies like Guardian Life would never gamble with their customer base by doing what Guardian Life did. But since Guardian Life is so huge, and since competition has, to a large degree, been eliminated. They can afford to take a gamble. Worse case scenario for them: they get a bunch of unwanted media attention and are forced to reverse their decision. Their other customers, the ones who are paying attention and see what's going on, really have no where to run anyway.