Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why for profit medical is morally wrong

I haven't checked but I just wonder what the profit margin is on healthcare in this country? I know that the insurance industry just reported "earnings" of $146 billion dollars. Stop for a minute and think about that. Where exactly did those earnings come from? It wasn't because the insurance companies became so efficient that their balance sheets became bloated. No it was because they could stall and deny coverage and make a system so complex that only a Phd could understand it. Notice how there are pages of exclusions in coverage book but only a few of what is actually covered. I always find it interesting how when the bill comes that it doesn't really match up to what was in the book. And the excuse is that there were special circumstances in your case and therefore extra charges applied that aren't covered. And I'll venture to say that there are charges in there that shouldn't have been there but since hospitals are for profit as well they look for ways to slip the cost of one more cotton ball at $5 each. Yes I've experienced that myself when I was charged for a proceedure that wasn't done. But you can't expect the patient to weed out that kind of corruption as the bill is something even one with a degree in english can't understand. Why is it that usual and customary charges are rarely on the bill and when they are there's always some exception in your case?

So why is it immoral for medical care to be for profit. First you have the selfserving insurance companies. Their primary purpose is to amuse and confuse. You create confusion and you have an open door to someones' wallet. And the more confusion the higher potential profits. Then their's the oh what would you call him? I'll call him the hit man for lack of a better term. His job is to see how much profits he can squeeze out of a claim or better yet to deny the claim altogether. When you get a letter from this guy you feel like you've just been mugged. You'd have no less a feeling if he'd have hit you on the head with a metal pipe and stole your wallet. But he's more evil than that. So obsessed with making one more dollar for the bottom line he'll even resort to denying legit claims. He now comes in the form of the grim reaper and you won't get so much as an I'm sorry to inform you at the beginning of the letter. So with an emotionless cold (most are form letters) you get the news that instead of getting that needed cancer treatment that might have saved your life you're now on your own unless of course you can come up with the $100,000 to cover the costs which were jacked up by big pharma making mass profits.

And this profit incentive isn't just limited to insurance and hospitals but to private medical schools as well. If you can cut corners there you can up your bottom line. It's what they aren't taught that could fill volumes. There's little taught on end of life issues and nothing for geriatrics unless that is a choosen field. In watching a conference by those in the medical field today I got a real eye opener as to the motivation of doctors facing a dying patient. The doctor may order test and treatments for the patient knowing that it will do little or nothing for the patient. This may be profit motivated but more likely it is the only way a doctor can show his concern for the patient. The question for them is what do you do when you know that nothing do will benefit the patient at end of life? With no end of life directive the doctor has no choice but to continue a standard line of treatments and care even if that subjects the patient to pain and suffering. And here's a kicker. Doctors are not properly trained in pain management.

Again I've said it once and I'll say it again. How much is your life worth? How much is a the life of a son or daughter, aunt or uncle, mother, father or grandparent worth? $1000? $10,000? $100,000?


The Blog Fodder said...

Imagine growing up in Canada--where every baby, student, graduate, rock musician, artist, farmer, entrepreneur, logger, 50-something diabetic, Wendy's server, sous-chef, barrister and barrista is covered--pre-existng condition or not. And you are not tied to a job you dislike because you need health insurance.

Tom Harper said...

Uh oh, we don't want to be like Canada. Is it true that Canada has armed Communist guards patrolling the streets, and that anybody who criticizes the Canadian government gets sent to a re-education camp? Socialized Medicine will be just the first step.

< / satire >

Randal Graves said...

I don't think that's satire, tom. Look, when is the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup? Exactly. It's because socialized medicine makes Canadians (and by extension, Canadian hockey players) weak and fragile girlie men.

BBC said...

Shrinks like to be overpaid also. Fancy homes and vacations and BMW's aren't cheap you know.

Anyway, did you go to Hempfest? It's pretty colorful.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

No nation--no matter its pretenses, documents, mythology, or apparently democratic institutions--can claim to be worth more than a bucket of a runny shit which mortgages the health of its citizens to the wealth of its elites...

Yes, America, I'm Looking at YOU...

Demeur said...

Fodder I'm jealous. How's the healthcare over there in Ukrane?

Tom do you get to go work in the Canadian oil sands?

Randal - no it's because Canada has better dope and the players forget where the goal is but then they don't care.

BBC sounds like you just got the bill from your shrink. You probably drove him nuts.
Hemp? Makes good rope and I hope they'll let farmers grow it here. We now import it from Canada. How's that for irony?

an average patriot said...

I am pretty sure I heard that breaks down to $4,000 per person. We can do fine without single payer as long as Obama the decider makes insurance companies pick you up with a precondition and eliminate all caps 2 big profit centers. He can get them one way or the other.

Holte Ender said...

I imagine that the single payer option was never on the table, but there are plenty of examples of subsidized plans in Europe, where you pay depending on what you earn.

Bee said...

It's a sad, sorry nation that lets the least of its citizens suffer in despair.

I'm a little tired of living in a sad, sorry nation.

I've been to Canada once - British Columbia. Beautiful land, lovely towns. I could live like that.

Demeur said...

I wouldn't even mind a single payer plan if it was doable. Those in congress pay $100 a month for what they have. I could do that even being on unemployment. A COBRA runs over half the unemployment on average. Having no insurance is just waiting for disaster.

Thanks for stopping by Woody and Bee.

BBC said...

They do have damn good pot in Canada, and they really like it. I don't know a lot about their health care system but the folks up there that I have talked to about it seem to be okay with it, generally speaking.

Don't make me laugh, I don't fucking spend any money on shrinks. I went to one for a while many years ago but the cost was on the state. After a couple of months she wanted to have sex with me. Rolls eyes, they're fucking crazy.

Snave said...

Great post, Demeur! There is nothing Hippocratic-Oath-like about the people who run the medical insurance companies for profit.

I think AAP is right, and that there should be a way to get the business of denying coverage out of the business of health insurance. They make LOTS of money from denying coverage.

Yeah, Canada has been looking good to me for a long time.

BBC said...

Snave, check out Costa Rica before moving to Canada. Great health care and a much better climate. And no military for the taxpayers to support.

Anonymous said...

Skippy the bush kangaroo said to say, "hi."

Good article. Thanks.

BBC if you check back, the medical care in Costa Rica is better and one hell of a lot cheaper than the US. Been there done that. If you can just put the same amount in the bank as what you pay in "insurance" shakedown, in 7 years you'll have enough to fly to Costa Rica and have treatment for ANYTHING.

BBC said...

I suppose you saw the Horsey comic about the fact the 98,000 Americans die each year do to blotched procedures in hospitals. Makes you wonder if you even want to go to one.

BTW, the down side of Costa Rica is very bad roads. But I'm never in a hurry anymore anyway.

The Blog Fodder said...

Costa Rica has beautiful girls, (Columbia has better) great rum and a climate to retire in.

Health care in Ukraine is kind of a shambles right now, like the rest of the economy. Technically much is free. Well trained Drs and Nurses but 50 years behind in hospitals and technology (No money. If you need new technology there are private med clinics with some better equipment (European).
If you go to hospital, you take your own clothes and bedding and your family feeds you, washes you etc. if possible. Hospital food will keep you from dying of starvation but that is all. Again no money. You buy all meds, bandages etc. at the dispensary. Anything you need you buy in advance.

Canadian health care isn't perfect by any stretch but beats hell out of USA's. France seems to have the best results of all but don't know details.

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