In todays IHT, there was this article about dramatically rising health insurance premiums.
Insurance companies are under pressure from investors to maintain healthy profits, while claiming they are fighting to contain costs. Yet premiums rise faster and faster, so one might very well surmise that they are ineffective at containing costs, even though they are demanding that they be the only provider of insurance, not the government.
Now, one reason offered for rapidly rising costs is the number of uninsured receiving hospital care, shifting that cost burden to hospital fees for the insured, and raising insurance rates. What is not addressed by the insurance industry is why people are uninsured, and I would offer that a major reason is that they cannot afford it. If the current approach to health care continues, is it not reasonable to conclude that rising insurance costs will result in more people being priced out of the market, further increasing hospital fees as the cost of the uninsureds' urgent/emergency care is shifted to the insured, who will suffer higher premiums, etc, etc, etc?
The industry also says that the low payment schedules of government health plans also results in costs being shifted to private insurers, again raising their premiums.
Throughout all this, the insurers are turning profits, and the article would lead one to believe that investor pressure has more of their attention that Congress and the general well being of the populace.
So, if one were to believe the insurance industry, any approach other than theirs contributes to the problem. But their approach, IHMO, is at the heart of the problem, as it has resulted in 20% of the under age 65 population having no health insurance, and that number is growing daily. The unemployed and under-employed cannot afford health insurance, and what has the industry proposed for these people, other than a sort of variation on "Trickle Down Economics"?
Death Spiral or Circular Logic? Methinks both.
PS, and since I don't feel like starting another thread for this one tidbit, here's a side comment in a post about the ability of the Government to provide more bail out capital by Blogging Stocks writer Michael Schulman:
However, Uncle Sam is now in so much debt that this is no longer a serious option. And it looks like we are going to spend another $900 billion-plus on health care reform over 10 years (a lot of money, sure, but about a third less than what Wall Street will spend on bonuses).
Gotta love our priorities.