Maybe the Health Care issue affects me more because I’m self-employed and have been for the last twenty years. We do tend to get more worked-up over things that impact us directly, don’t we? I don’t really know who reads this blog, but I suspect that many of us are in the same boat. Writers, salespeople, and small business owners have all felt the crunch of rising health care costs.
Health Care Without the Care.
Let me tell you a story. Years ago, I worked as a life and health insurance salesman. I was sent to a week-long seminar in Denver, Colorado. At the training was a speaker. I don’t remember his name, but I can say he was an engaging executive type fellow and the story he related stuck with me to this day.
It seems that when he was much younger he was just an average guy working at an average full-time job. One day a favorite cousin came by to visit him. The cousin had taken a position selling a new product called health insurance. The speaker said that he laughed out loud and told his relative that it was the most ridiculous idea he had ever heard. After all, hospitals at that time were primarily community facilities and often run by religions or other charitable organizations. A hospital bed ran around 10 dollars a day. No patient was ever turned away, and doctors would accept terms, trade, or dismiss debt entirely if the patient couldn’t pay.
As much as the speaker tried to persuade his cousin, he held firm. So, he decided to prove his relative wrong by conducting an impromptu survey. He got a clipboard, a pen, and some paper and started ringing doorbells. When the door was answered he would lead with the worst opening ever conceived, “You wouldn’t be interested in buying health insurance, would you?”
“No” was the answer he received door-after-door-after-door.
Just when almost satisfied that he had collected enough no’s to make his cousin see the light, he got a “Yes.” The people invited him in and asked him to tell them more. Of course, he wasn’t knowledgeable about the product, so he phoned his cousin and invited him over. Together they wrapped up a nice sale. Then the new policy holder said to his wife, “We have friends and neighbors who should hear about this.”
So they invited other people over. Before long, they earned more in commissions than the speaker earned in a month of full-time work. He was so excited, he quit his job the next day and became an agent.
It was a compelling story and got the crowd of insurance agents wound up and ready go out and sell, sell, sell, but the enthusiasm of the speech is not what I want to convey. Let’s take a look back at some of the facts: $10.00 per day hospital beds, charity run hospitals, no one turned away, and doctors more interested in treating patients than in paying their country club dues.
Follow the Money–Who Really Benefits from Health Insurance?
Think about it, since the inception of health insurance who has benefited? The patients? No. Health insurance has made it possible for a one day hospital stay to rack up thousands of dollars. It created the 1 dollar aspirin and the $2,000.00 per dose medicine. It has made Doctors wealthy. It has made health insurance executives millionaires. But it hasn’t done anything for policy holders except drain our wallets and gets us to believe the big lie that we have the finest health care in the world. Ha–that’s a laugh.
Who runs health care now? CORPORATIONS. It is no longer about the patient it is about the profit. Hey, that would be a good slogan for them, “Profit Over Patients.” How do they make those profits? They make them by denying claims. They aren’t really in the health care business they are in the claim denial business. One has to wonder, if they are so good at the art of minimizing their risk, and they are, why does your insurance go up 20% or more every year? Can you say Corporate greed? The Lund Report said that the CEO of the Oregon Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 2008 was the highest paid insurance executive in the state taking home nearly a million dollars. “So what did Regence do that resulted in its leaders being rewarded so well? If you take a look at the company’s performance last year, it’s hard to find the merit. Not only did the state’s largest insurer lose 32 percent (334,228) of its members, bringing its enrollment down to its lowest level in five years (776,647), Regence’s profit margin barely reached 1 percent. However, the company collected more in premiums than during the previous year.” Where did the increases come from? Duh, from raising premiums on the policyholders.
They’ve Got Us Over a Barrel.
Doesn’t this sound suspiciously like the greedy Wall Street titans? They take theirs, and then some, while everyone else suffers. If health insurance executives want more money they raise premiums, after all, what can you do? If you have been sick while under their plan, you now have a preexisting condition. No other insurance company will cover you. And if you drop your current coverage because it is too expensive, they will never take you back. Talk about having us over a barrel. We are screwed. As long as health care in America continues business as usual, we will be paying twice as much per person as any another other country in the world. But do we have the best health care in the world? NO! According to W.H.O., we rank No. 37. We are 37th and we pay more than anyone. Double in many cases.
How Stupid Are We, Paying Double for Half the Benefits?
Let’s stand behind the president and give the public option a chance. Private industry has had its chance and unless you’ve got your head buried in the sand, you’ll agree that it has been a failure on a massive scale.
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