Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

With insurance companies flush with cash and their shareholders pocketing impressive dividends, rising insurance rates and punitive co-payments have terrorized much of the public into putting off visits to the doctor and postponing important tests.” Such is the “insanity of private health care,” in which insurers are allowed to charge high rates and co-payments “that prevent their own customers from obtaining needed health care.”

 

Study Shows Insured Americans Risk Health to Avoid High Co-Payments

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Self-rationing of medical care under economic duress will certainly result in unnecessary future deaths and a further erosion of overall health in the United States.”

Americans fortunate enough to have health insurance are cutting back on their own medical care, while private insurance corporations are reaping windfall profits. Rising insurance rates and punitive co-payments have terrorized much of the public into putting off visits to the doctor and postponing important tests like colonoscopies and mammograms, because the cash upfront is more than they can afford. This self-rationing of medical care under economic duress, confirmed by the commercial insurance industry, will certainly result in unnecessary future deaths and a further erosion of overall health in the United States, which already ranks 37th in the world. Meanwhile, insurance industry shareholders are clocking big dividends and companies are piling up huge reserves of cash.

The insurance racketeers justify their rate increases, claiming they need to hoard big stashes of cash in anticipation that, when the economy improves, people will start going back to the doctor again. This is the insanity of private health care, a corporate con game in which insurance companies are allowed to rake in fantastic profits charging astronomical rates that prevent even their own customers from obtaining needed health care during economic hard times. The rationale is that the companies will need the extra money when good times roll around and their customers finally have enough cash to visit the doctor and take necessary tests.

We know that preventable illness and death will increase when people are discouraged from utilizing medical services.”

The United States does not have a national health care policy; it has a national insurance corporation profits policy, as well as a national pharmaceutical industry profits policy. But the population at-large, much of whose health care is already rationed by managed-care corporations, is now reduced to rationing its own health care by postponing medical attention. The bizarre, inhuman, totally non-medical logic of the corporate boardroom then demands that insurance rates rise in order to pay for the pent-up health care demands that must inevitably be dealt with at some later date. The insurance companies project that doctor visits will pick up when people’s spending power increases. Of course, there is absolutely no reason to believe that most people’s disposal incomes will increase in the foreseeable future. That’s why people are holding off going to the doctor. But, we do know that preventable illness and death will increase when people are discouraged from utilizing medical services. In other words, the U.S. health-profits system is methodically killing Americans – and rewarding corporations for their role in the carnage.

These are the fruits of the backroom sweetheart deals that President Obama cut with private insurance corporations back in 2009. They have allowed big insurance companies to exceed expected earnings by 30 percent, while undetected tumors fester in the bodies of their customers, who can't afford the co-pay.

The logic of private health care and its Obamacare version, is death. A national single-payer plan, such as was possible in 2009 had Obama not chosen to preserve corporate profits, is the only answer.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20110518_gf_InsuranceProfits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54am EDT