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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Insurance

It all began with a good thought – everybody pays a little bit and when disaster strikes our expenses are covered, a socially responsible idea which has prevented families from getting ruined by medical expenses, and it has worked in many places.

But is that still the case or has something changed?

I think somewhere along the way something went terribly wrong. Insurance companies started to be powerful and were looking to increase their business.

In their  efforts, they found a lot of help from the legal profession.
When lawyers discovered that they could make a good living by persuading people to sue their doctors and hospitals thus offering an enticing possibility to strike it rich, everybody who thought their doctor had treated him/her wrongly jumped on the bandwagon.  Of course the lawyers couldn’t have pulled it off without a lot of help from their brothers – the judges. First the judges made it possible to successfully sue a doctor out of his job by awarding 2 million Dollars for a broken self-esteem of a patient.

Poor doctors!

All of a sudden every doctor and every hospital was looking frantically for – INSURANCE.  Soon the verdicts were reaching millions. Millions of cases and millions of dollars. Wow – now we can increase our premiums, said the insurance industry.  With sky-high premiums doctors and medical facilities had to increase their charges to their patients and their health insurance companies. The endless spiral of ever increasing health costs was on.

The fact that the insurance companies were serving both the patients and the doctors turned out to be very lucrative for them.

The downside, of course, is that health insurance premiums got completely out of control. In fact many people (about 30% in the U.S.) cannot afford to pay these premiums and had to choose to live without such insurance.

Back to the pre-insurance times?

A couple of days ago I met a couple from New Hampshire. He had retired from the State but his wife was working. Why was she working? Well, their monthly health insurance premiums were 1,200.00 Dollars and was eating up his monthly pension check he got from the State.
His entire work life was rewarded by taking his monthly pension to pay for his health insurance. So, in order to live a decent life his wife had to work.

It is kind of hard to find any sympathy for a system which has so completely gotten out of hand.
Over here in Canada we know that our health system might not be the best in the world, but at least we are not getting ruined by an insurance system whose first and main purpose should be to PROTECT its customers from getting ruined.

My Dad always said that insurance companies were legalized criminals. Trouble is, we seem not to be able to live without them either.

Have a great 2. half of the week!

7 comments:

  1. I am unfortunately one of those without insurance. I paid 1/4 of my income to have insurance while I was employed. I also contributed to my retirement and built a nice nest egg for retirement. When I joined the unemployed in 2009 at age 58 I was no longer able to continue to pay the exorbitant premiums. I looked into an assistance program available in our state and discovered I would have to use my retirement funds before I would be eligible. So I am a uninsured once again looking forward to Social Security and Medicare. Maybe I will still have some of my retirement left. Ha!!

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  2. Well said. I think you've captured the essence of the problem. And it is a problem.

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  3. Our Canadian health care works good for us, we do pay threw high taxes etc, but it does make retirement affordable for us.

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  4. We are blessed to have our Canadian health care...lucky for us we are supplemented by Ricks pre retirement employer for our blue cross to cover the other necessities....such as drugs, glasses, dental travel ins etc...we do pay in taxes-but you don't seem to 'see' that as it does not come out of our pockets in one lump sum monthly.

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  5. I think it is so interesting that what I mainly hear from Canadians is that they like their health care system even though they know it is not perfect (what is?) but when I talk with certain friends they continually tell me how horrible the Canadian system is and how the Canadians hate it. I truly believe they are out of touch with reality. I am so in agreement with you on the insurance industry, they are making a profit at the expense of our health and well being. I am all for a single payer system here in the US but the Republicans have this country so convinced that it would be un-American to do so. Sorry for the rant but I just get so frustrated.

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  6. Dealing with insurance companies is like dealing with the devil as far as I'm concerned.

    Count me as one Canadian who loves are Universal Health Care system. That's not surprising, as most Canadians prefer it by huge margins (over 90%) to the American system.

    Interestingly, Medicare is a single payer system in the U.S. and yet even Republicans join up for its benefits. Seems a little hypocritical to me as it is way more socialist than anything offered by the new Affordable Care Act.

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  7. AMEN Peter! How true you are. They are all crooks waiting to take your money as soon as you earn it. Between the insurance companies and the lawyers I am not sure who is the biggest crooks. They are all pathetic. Then you can throw in the politicians as well to make the cycle complete.

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