Why do some opponents of health care reform trust insurance companies more than the government?


My favorite part was the bit on "recissions":


When a person is diagnosed with an expensive condition such as cancer, some insurance companies review his/her initial health status questionnaire. In most states’ individual insurance market, insurance companies can retroactively cancel the entire policy if any condition was missed – even if the medical condition is unrelated, and even if the person was not aware of the condition at the time. Coverage can also be revoked for all members of a family, even if only one family member failed to disclose a medical condition.10

A recent Congressional investigation into this practice found nearly 20,000 rescissions from three large insurers over five years, saving them $300 million in medical claims11 – $300 million that instead had to come out of the pockets of people who thought they were insured, or became bad debt for health care providers.

At least one insurance company has been found to evaluate employee performance based in part on the amount of money an employee saved the company through rescissions.12 Simply put, these insurance company employees are encouraged to revoke sick people’s health coverage.


Wouldn't an organization that has at least some itty bitty amount of accountability to the public do a better job of providing health care than an organization that is motivated ONLY by profit?


Angry Mobster: If your idea of an efficient business model is scoring $300,000,000 by canceling 20,000 insurance policies bought legitimately by cancer patients, I'll take the government. Oh, and how are all those privately run intercity train services doing?

Update 2:

Pelosi & Lefts Ruined California:

Of the programs that you listed (medicare, medicaid, social security, post office), how many of them were created to make a profit? You see, there are some things that we need to do in this country (helping people who are too old to work stay alive, mailing letters, building roads, educating our children, generating electricity...) that we don't do to make money. We do it so that we can have a functioning, modern civilization. But we understand that creating conditions in which people can live and work freely and safely will be worth it in the end and will probably pay us all back in the form of a strong economy. As for Freddie Mac, I seem to remember them going under due to their own sh**ty business strategies, the same reason the housing market collapsed. But maybe I haven't been watching enough Fox News to know the real truth. By the way, how did privatizing the electric companies work out for you folks in California?

Update 3:


"Because my insurance company leaves decisions on my care between my doctor and myself."

Did you even bother to READ my quote above? Seriously?

"Some may not have insurance companies that are this good, but they can always change insurance."

So in other words, let them eat cake? What would you suggest to the people who can't afford insurance in the first place?

Update 4:

emp: Check out out! You CAN!!! It's called "voting". Isn't it amazing?

Update 5:

Logical Thinker:

Since you're so logical, maybe we can reason our way through it.

Assertion1: The new health care plan does not exist yet.

Assertion 2: If the new health care plan does not yet exist, then Obama cannot yet switch to it.

Conclusion: Obama cannot yet switch to the new health care plan.

Update 6:

faithlost: You told me that you don't want the government to control your life. But in the health care debate the choice is between health insurance companies or nothing (now), and health insurance companies or the government (if the plan is passed). So if if you don't want the plan to pass then it means you would rather have either nothing (in which case your alone) or a private insurance company. The entire point of this question is: why would you prefer the private insurance company? As a subquestion: even if you are suspicious of government care, why are you against other people having that choice? Remember, if you have your own private insurance now you can still keep it post health care reform.

Update 7:

desotobrave: According to my link, you probably won't know that you need to switch insurance companies until they have already screwed you over by dropping your coverage or hiking your premiums. Wouldn't you prefer some assurance that this won't happen? Second, what makes you think your insurance company is better than any of the others, or even that you can accurately tell the difference? These companies are obsessive about keeping their screening procedures and risk calculations secret. Third, try to remember that all of the plans for reform currently on the table allow you to choose your insurance - whether it is the government or a private company (at least, the plans don't restrict your freedom of choice any more than it is already restricted). Finally, why are you willing to deny people who can't afford health insurance in the status quo the right to have access to health care? Why would your right to choose outweigh their right to health?

Update 8:

Angry Mobster: "Sure we need reform", you say. OK, great, I'm glad we agree. So what is your great idea? How do we reform health care without using the federal government? How do we make sure children and retired people, who don't have the opportunity to work for health insurance but need health care the most, get it? I'm hearing a lot of s**t, but no answers. Nor am I hearing any reason why the horrors of the federal government are worse than the status quo. If you don't want this thing to pass, THAT is what you have to explain to me.

Update 9:

dlk: I concede 100%: there absolutely, positively will be rationing of health care. My question is: HOW IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT FROM THE STATUS QUO? We do NOT have a choice between "everybody gets health care" and "some people get health care" - we have a choice between health insurance companies rationing it and the federal government rationing it. I ask you again: why do you prefer the health insurance companies?

Regarding your second comment: I keep hearing the assertion that the health care reform plans on the table now will force people to switch to the federal plan if they try to switch carriers or if the insurance company changes its policy. Quite frankly, this makes my bulls**t alarm ring, but I'm a fair minded person and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Please tell me where any of the bills include such a provision so I can see for myself.

Update 10:

out2lunch: The government doesn't administer crucial services and institutions because it is most efficient - it does so because some things just can't be done efficiently. If it were at all cost effective to educate every child in America, we wouldn't need public schools. If businesses had enough money to give all of their employees a livable retirement plan, we wouldn't need social security. If it weren't cheaper for factories to dump hazardous chemicals into our natural habitats and water supply, we wouldn't need the EPA to stop them. If tapeworms weren't a cheap and easily marketable weight-loss option, we wouldn't need the FDA. And if health insurance companies could maximize their profits while providing children, the elderly, and the 20,000 victims per year of their recission policy with the health care they need, we wouldn't need health care reform. But they can't, and we do.

Update 11:

out2lunch again: That being said, if you really do want some examples of what happens when traditionally public institutions are privatized (I suspect you don't), here are two in the past 10 years that came to me without any real research:



Update 12:

out2lunch again: Next, we get onto the typical selfish rampage. Here's what you get for your money. Let's say you get fired from your job or your business goes under because the economy turns for the worse. You have enough to live on for awhile, but sadly one of your children gets a rare form of cancer whose only treatment is a $500,000 operation which you can no longer afford. In the status quo, you are F**KED. But IF the plan passes and IF your taxes increase as a result, your child gets covered too!

Aside from that, I'm not sure how much of a contribution to this debate we need from somebody who clearly doesn't think much of America, or at least Americans. Whether you like it or not, you have to pay for roads, schools, hospitals, etc. that you may never use because this country is for EVERYBODY, not just the people who meet YOUR moral standards. Standards which are apparently not met by the millions of uninsured children and elderly that CAN'T pay themselves.

Update 13:

out2lunch again:

Finally: Here is my proof that the health care reform is not unconstitutional. The constitution doesn't say the words "health care" anywhere. I looked, it doesn't. Nor does it say anywhere in the constitution "the federal government can't do anything except what is written in this document". That's why we have, for example, a military (an institution which also does not appear in the constitution). You see, the founding fathers left it to future generations to decide how to use or not use the federal government to solve their problems. That's because as smart as they were they knew they could not foresee all of the challenges that we have faced and that we are facing, and they wanted us to have the tools to solve our problems as a nation. That's right: not just our own individual problems, but the problems that we all face.

Update 14:

out2lunch: You are completely ignoring the question that (in theory) you are supposed to be answering: WHY WOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BE A WORSE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER THAN A PRIVATE INSURER? Not one single disparaging remark you have made about the federal government does not also apply to private insurance companies. Your only remaining argument about health care is:

"IF i get some rare form of cancer (chances are how remote? 1,000,000:1?), under ObamaCare, I would need to meet some arbitrary government test to see if I will live long enough after treatment to benefit the GOVERNMENT! I don't have an expiration date stamped on jmy backside. How will Big Brother predict when I will die?"

Do you think insurance companies treat you to help anybody but themselves? When you apply for treatment, do you think they won't scrutinize and test every part of your life to see if they can get out of their responsibility?

Update 15:

Aside from that, your strategy seems to be to dodge the profound moral and economic crises that is the current health care system by focusing all of your attention on the abstract evils of the federal government. An easy target, to be sure. The Supreme Court has interpreted the 10th Amendment time and time again to mean that the government cannot explicitly regulate the states or override their legislation unless the constitution explicitly gives it the authority to do so. It says nothing about the government providing its own services, so long as they do not interfere with state authority. So unless you can find a state which has passed a law saying that people don't have to have health insurance if they don't want it, national health care reform is perfectly constitutional.

Update 16:

It's not that I don't understand your fear of the government. I don't want them telling me where I have to shop for food, what I have to watch on TV, what I can and can't say or write publicly. If I start a business, I don't want them telling me what product I have to build (so long as choose to do whatever I do in a way that is safe and respectful to my community). I don't want them to tell me who I can associate with, what religious beliefs I can have, or who I can marry. I think the basic function of the government is to keep society safe, clean, and fair, and I don't think it is safe or fair to let insurance companies turn life and death into a financial decision. Nobody actually believes that we can help everybody, but the difference between you and me is that I think we should at least try. There are over 1.25 million new cancer patients a year, and the cheapest possible treatment costs $11,000 if you aren't insured. 40,000 children have cancer now. What's YOUR plan?

19 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Because they are unaware that death panels are already in existence and run by insurance company executives. If more people were aware of that, maybe the USA would have a healthcare system that the worlds most powerful nation deserves.

    I am always amazed how many Americans seem not to be aware about the issues with healthcare relying on FOX and other sources to spread misinformation about the healthcare system of the USA and those abroad.

    First of all, Obama wants to make insurance more available to all and change the system so that it is cheaper [1]. He also wants change so that the insurance companies find it harder to get out of paying for treatment. The system he is proposing looks similar to that which works in Holland and Switzerland where private companies are involved in providing insurance [2].

    Second, of course universal health-cover sucks. That is why we in Western Europe have it. We think, hmm, our healthcare system sucks. I know, lets keep it. I guess that is the same with Japan and Canada as well.

    Third, Obama campaigned on reforming the healthcare system. He said he wanted to make insurance more available and he was elected by the American people to do this [3].

    FACT - the US has higher death rates for kids both for kids aged under one and those under five than western European countries with universal health coverage [4,5].

    FACT – American insurance companies push up prices and work to stop paying out claims on those they cover [6].

    FACT - the USA spends more on healthcare PER PERSON than any other nation on the planet [7].

    That means that a dead American four year old would have had a better chance of life if they were born in Canada, France, Cuba, Germany, Japan etc, all of which have universal health coverage.

    Last of all if you do not like the policies that Obama was elected to bring in, he can always be voted out of office in 2012.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The reason our healthcare in America is so expensive is that the buyers are so far separated from the sellers.

    The people paying for the goods and services are not doing so with their own money.

    When there is a seemingly endless supply of money to pay for proceedures, the number of proceedures needed will be endless.

    When someone else pays, we take whatever we can get, and as much as we want; when we must pay we save for what we need and only take what is necessary.

    When I hear people complaining of greed, I wonder if these same people only take as much as they need when someone else is freely giving or if they take as much as they can. I suspect the latter.

    Asking government to pick up more of our costs will only raise our costs because it will at first appear as if we're getting something for nothing. The reality is, government will tax us all, skim off the lion's share of the loot, and ration by necessity the goodies they dole out to us.

    The only way to correct the errors of the past in regards to healthcare is to gradually remove Daddy Warbucks and his deep pockets from the picture. More government isn't the solution, less government involvement in private decisions like who will pay for our health care is the only viable solution.


    The problem with healthcare in America is that the customer, that is, the entity paying the bills is no longer the patient, but is instead a faceless bureaucracy be they government or private health insurance entities.

    More bureaucracy and more government cannot fix this problem.

    From the site, "Under health insurance reform, insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing coverage because of someone’s medical history or health risk."... "And insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who are or become ill."

    So when the insurance companies lose everything because of the requirement to assume bad investments, who do you think will prop them up financially?

  • 1 decade ago

    The government can’t seem to run anything efficiently, so I would prefer to see public cooperatives rather than a government-run healthcare option.

    The primary problem you cite can be rectified through legislation rather than creating a government-run program:

    Prohibit insurers from cancelling policies other than for failure to pay premiums or fraudulent misrepresentation in the application (insurance fraud is a felony).

    We are talking about insurance that will cover previously existing conditions. That’s what insurers are most worried about. But how does that hurt them? They can adjust (as in “raise”) their rates by class on an annual basis based on their claims history. If they’re getting hammered by claims from their policyholders who are 55 to 65 year old, the companies can raise premiums for that group.

    I have a friend who worked for a large insurance company. He said the companies “love” cancer because it kills quickly. What they don’t like is people with Parkinson’s, strokes and heart disease who may linger for years.

  • Pascha
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Insurance companies are regulated by government at the state level, but apparently that regulation is not effective in preventing the problems you point out.

    Because of personal experiences and experiences of family and friends, people have plenty of reasons to distrust both insurance companies and government.

    Insurance companies don't like to take on catastrophic risks, and the coverage of catastrophic risks is what people really need from health insurance. So, that leaves a big role for government.

    Even if government is a lot less than perfect, we have to work with them.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Name a single thing the federal government has ever taken over from the states or private industry that was run nearly as efficiently, nearly as effectively, or nearly as successfully. YOU CAN'T! Tell me why I should pay for health care for fat people, drunks, smokers, junkies, tramps and baby factories. Tell me what I get for MY money. No "right" exercised by one person, can obligate anyone else to do anything. If health care is your "right", you pay for it.

    The proposed plot is unconstitutional. I dare you to try to prove me wrong. YOU CAN'T!

    According to the proposed plot, if my private insurance changes any of its provisions, including rates, after the socialist bill is enacted, I am required to join the government debacle.

    If I am required to pay for the "public option", even if I have my own insurance, where is the "option" part?

    If I choose to change private insurance companies, how does that affect you? It doesn't! How can I choose to NOT participate in the government's debacle?

    If the proposed debacle is good enough for the proletariat, why are labor unions and the bourgeois exempted? Will Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd go to DC Public Hospital Number 7 for their treatments after the bill is passed or are they too good to stand in line with the low life proletariat?

    Les S, "How can a conservative be pro life, defend the sanctity of life, and then so passionately defend a system that kills thousands of innocent people who have paid into a system their whole life? It is part of conservative logic I will never understand." Do yoou pay into Socialist Insecurity? How mush of what you paid in do you think you'll ever see again? Socialist Insecurity is already bankrupt!!

    ADDED: Article 1, Section 8, in part, states as a power of Congress "To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

    To provide and maintain a navy".

    How much would that same hypothetical operation cost if the federal government was not imposing regulations on the hospitals? It is NOT a company's duty to look out for its employees retirement. private companies are setup to make a profit and some do, despite the great efforts of the federal government.

    "Nor does it say anywhere in the constitution "the federal government can't do anything except what is written in this document". Look up the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Now tell me what part, if any, of your life do you NOT want the federal government to interfere in? Maybe you want the federal government to tell you what kind and color underwear to wear? The powers of the federal government are supposed to be LIMITED by the Constitution of the United States.

    Contrary to your ignorant rant, I consider Amercians to be the most resourceful people around when the federal government gets out of the way and lets us do what we know to be right. I don't need some governemnt program to tell me when someone needs help. Government coercion is a LONG way from charity.

    IF i get some rare form of cancer (chances are how remote? 1,000,000:1?), under ObamaCare, I would need to meet some arbitrary government test to see if I will live long enough after treatment to benefit the GOVERNMENT! I don't have an expiration date stamped on jmy backside. How will Big Brother predict when I will die?

    Why are members of labor unions and the government exempt from this debacle if it's supposedly so great, grand, glorious and wonderful?

    Further EDIT: Name a single thing the federal government has ever taken over from the private sector that was ever run nearly as efficiently or successfully. YOU CAN'T! Nor can you point to the part of the Constitution of the United States that allows the federal government top interfere in MY health care or force me to pay for anyone else's. Besides, if I don't like my insurance company, I can find another easily. Overthrowing the federal government is a bit more difficult and expensive.

  • dlk
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    And you don't think the Gov't will end up rationing care, procedures, or medicines. I do not want the Federal Gov't having mandated access to my personal bank accounts, OR to my retirement account. I do not want the Federal Gov't telling me (since I have a preexisting condition), that the meds I now take are not allowed. I do not want the Federal Gov't running my everyday health OR life.

    There IS going to be rationing. There IS a beaucratic "panel" consisting of 20 some individuals and only 1 doctor to yea or nay procedures etc.

    You CAN google the House Version at H.R.3200. You can also google the changes the Senate wants. I consider you best begin reading.

    As to keeping one's insurance??? You are naive. You change one (1) think in your insurance, your company changes one (1) thing in their group insurance...................you are then mandated to sign up for the Gov't plan. THAT IS WHERE THESE POLITICIANS are very dishonest. THAT is exactly how the private insurance industry will be destroyed anywhere's from 5 to 10 years.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Enjoy talking to people who choose to be deaf here.

    Private insurance does NOT meet the needs of many Americans, and NOBODY who'se been refused coverage by a private insurance company (as I and my wife were in the US) deserves to have NO options for coverage, which is all Obama's Bill is providing despite all the hysterical lies being screamed.

    The private companies don't WANT to have competititon - and want to keep their monolopy in place - that's the problem.

    (At the cost of the lives of tax paying, hard working Americans who die on the street under the present system.)

    Source(s): Angry Mobster and others - Medicare and Social Security are bankrupt because Republicans PURPOSEFULLY BANKRUPTED THEM!!!! The govt does NOT have access to your bank account or personal information - that's a "electronic billing" account for the DOCTOR to get paid by the GOVERNMENT insurer. And it says right on page 15-16 that you are GUARANTEED to be able to keep your private insurance and switch back and forth ANYTIME YOU WANT - except of course the private company will REFUSE to take you back if you'd had ANY HEALTHCARE AT ALL in between, just like they always did and do now.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I am glad that other people are talking about rescission. I have been talking about this from the beginning of this health care debate.

    The ruthless and unethical manner that insurance companies are condemning people to die is absolutely appalling. The simple practice of rescission in itself is enough of an argument to abolish private health care, but many conservatives, who claim to be pro-life, simply do not care that the insurance companies are literally killing thousands of people in the name of profits.

    How can a conservative be pro life, defend the sanctity of life, and then so passionately defend a system that kills thousands of innocent people who have paid into a system their whole life? It is part of conservative logic I will never understand.

    What is worse, in a congressional hearing committee with those three health insurance companies, they admitted to rescission practices and they actually had the gall, on camera, in front of the congress, to say that they will not stop using rescission to stop paying for people with expensive health complications.

    Edit: Faithlost

    Since when has choice been a factor in the debate about life? You condemn a woman's right to choose because it is against the sanctity of life, but you applaud a corporations right to kill because you have a choice between who is doing the killing?

    Furthermore, you are only assuming that a govt. run health care plan will not give you a choice. That is totally false. The government run plan only gives you the same choices you have now, but it will be funded with tax dollars instead of private health insurance money. Simple facts.

  • 1 decade ago

    Because my insurance company leaves decisions on my care between my doctor and myself. Some may not have insurance companies that are this good, but they can always change insurance.

    Now, why do people support a government run health care system when the government has not shown it can run any program with quality and efficiency?

  • 1 decade ago

    I trust neither. The difference is that I may switch insurance governments tomorrow. At best, I can switch governments every four years, and even then, it takes years to remove their legislation.

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