I must say I was quite surprised to hear Wendell Potter quote the current CEO of Aetna saying, “the system doesn’t work. It’s broke today.” “The end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here.”
We can only hope that their downfall is close at hand. Although it probably won’t happen for years, it seems the process has begun.
Ever since the health insurance industry came to be dominated in recent years by a handful of big for-profit corporations, insurers have actually been driving away customers and shrinking the universe of people they were willing to cover, because of the return on investment and the profit demands of the large institutional investors that own most of the corporations’ shares. It is because of those demands that insurers price their premiums beyond the reach of millions of Americans. It is because of those demands that insurers reject on average a third or more of all applicants because of “preexisting conditions.” And it is because of those demands that insurers have routinely canceled the coverage of thousands of policyholders when they got sick. Now you know why more than 50 million of us are uninsured. It is not because most of those people are being irresponsible. Most of them either can’t afford to buy coverage or can’t buy it at any price.
The problem for the health care industry then becomes one of a shrinking marketplace. When you deny all these people coverage for whatever reason—you are limiting yourself. Whether you like it or not healthcare will eventually be managed by nonprofits and the government. It’s becoming unprofitable for the corporate killers.