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Mon Jan 21, 2013, 02:19 PM

Wendell Potter: Differing Notions of Affordability

http://wendellpotter.com/2013/01/differing-notions-of-affordability/

Health insurers’ big PR and lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, has launched a slick new campaign, complete with compelling graphics and pithy sound bites, to persuade lawmakers that they need to take immediate action to prevent insurance premiums from going up more than usual.

But while we agree that lawmakers do indeed need to focus on affordability, we disagree on what they should do. Insurance executives want Congress to get rid of some of the most important consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare. I believe it’s time to focus on the value—or lack thereof—that private health insurance companies actually add to our health care system.

Several years ago, a coworker asked our CEO during a staff meeting what kept him up at night. He responded with a single word: disintermediation.

Merriam-Webster defines disintermediation as “the elimination of an intermediary in a transaction between two parties.” So what my boss was saying was that sooner or later, Americans might reach the conclusion that private insurers are no more essential than travel agents (remember them?), and that by dispatching health insurers to the history books, we could reduce spending on health care by billions if not trillions of dollars.

Much of what I was paid to do in my former job was to create and perpetuate the impression that insurers are “part of the solution” and “add value” to the system. I put those words between quotation marks because they were used repeatedly by my CEO and other industry leaders and became our mantras, especially in conversations with policymakers and the media.

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Reply Wendell Potter: Differing Notions of Affordability (Original post)
antigop Jan 2013 OP
CTyankee Jan 2013 #1
antiquie Jan 2013 #2
area51 Jan 2013 #3
antigop Jan 2013 #4
MissMarple Jan 2013 #5
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #6
Doctor_J Jan 2013 #7

Response to antigop (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 04:39 PM

1. We need to say this over and over and over again! It's so obvious!

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Response to antigop (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 05:14 PM

2. Yes,

we need healthcare not insurance.

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Response to antigop (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:05 AM

3. To the Greatest Page with you.

Every month, 8190 Americans die due to lack of health care.

We don't need the serial killer insurance agencies getting between us and treatment.

And we don't need Newt Gingrich's favorite idea of mandatory private, for-profit insurance agencies being gatekeepers.

Republican '93 plan:
"Subtitle F: Universal Coverage - Requires each citizen or lawful permanent resident to be covered under a qualified health plan or equivalent health care program by January 1, 2005."


It's 2013! We need to stop letting people die due to lack of health care. It's long past time for single payer health care!

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Response to area51 (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:13 AM

4. thank you. nt

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Response to antigop (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:13 PM

5. Eventually the country will have the conversation about the utility of insurance companies.

We may not end up with single payer as some countries have, but it will be closer to that. I think the state exchanges are heading us in that direction.

That and simplifying the tax code will have heavy impacts on the industries built around health and taxes. This could be interesting. I just hope it is gradual and not traumatic.

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Response to antigop (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:35 AM

6. "They're Our System!"®

The Government of the United States says so, and if you don't play ball you'll be fined. And if you don't pay the fine you'll go to jail.

All for bloodsucking parasites who don't invent new drugs or medical devices, don't perform surgeries or set broken bones, don't take temperatures or even empty bed pans. All they do is skim hundreds of billions of dollars out of the "system" every year for nothing and kill countless thousands of people in the process.

They do nothing but kill for profit. Oh yeah, and bribe your Dear Leader.

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Response to antigop (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 02:12 PM

7. Or, as the rest of the world would say,

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