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« Regionals | Main | Quote 29 from Sowell's "A Conflict of Visions" »



Insurance companies do not ortpaee in the customer’s interest anymore. They have not for a long time. My dad worked in the insurance industry when I was very little, until the lawyer legislators conspired and contrived to upset the risk pool by allowing companies like Allstate to cream the crop of the risks, and left everybody else with significantly increased premiums. That is not how insurance was created to work.Disgusted, my dad left the insurance industry and became a lawyer himself. Not sure what that meant.Nowadays, I see enough behind the scenes to know that medical care delivers miraculous results, but as an industry, is seriously broken. By the way, Blue Cross Blue Shield is an association of companies owned in different places in different ways. Not all are non-profit.The trend today in the insurance industry is to de-mutualize mutual insurance companies. In mutual insurance companies, the customers actually own the company through mutual participation with their premiums; and they have a voice and can vote on how the company is run, based on how much in premiums they pay each year. There is no reason on this hotting up Earth for any insurance company to be anything but mutual.Guess what happens when they de-mutualize? There is one right near me in Indianoplace, who demutualized some years back. Do I have to tell you that shortly afterwards the top layer of executives engaged in a deal that brought each of them multi-millions? Like Mitt Romney, they then loaded the company with scads and scads of debt, while transferring even more wealth to themselves. And premiums in all their lines have skyrocketed since de-mutualization.Meanwhile, those executives say that mutual insurance companies are “old-fashioned” and “outmoded”. Yeah, because with a mutual company the top executives cannot become rich beyond belief. Meanwhile, people on this forum claim I am a whiner for criticizing this stuff. It’s a free country. What’s wrong with executives making millions? Let them do business the way they want to. They deserve that freedom.Okay. It’s your country; have it your way. Lynn is right: healthcare is going to bankrupt this country. Dean Baker frequently gives the facts and figures that indicate how severe it is going to be. And instead of devising laws and regulations that keep executives from earning fabulous fortunes at YOUR expense in significantly increased premiums, we are at the crossroads of deciding that government can MANDATE that you to pay those damned executives to get rich!What a country!What can be done? Baker frequently outlines solutions. Take certification of doctors and lawyers away from the self-regulating bodies of those groups. Also take away the role that such self-regulation exercises over law schools and medical schools. Their self-interest is served by insuring there is a constant shortage of doctors and lawyers and limiting the attendance at law schools and medical colleges, which keeps wages for doctors and lawyers high. Baker points out that IF wages for a particular group are high, then there IS a shortage of them. Allow schooled foreign medical and law school graduates a path to become certified in the US as doctors and lawyers, increasing competition. Allow anyone in the US to obtain medical care in other parts of the world where rates are MUCH lower (and that is EVERYWHERE outside the US); healthcare quality is as good or better than in the US; and consequently, longevity rates are significantly higher than in the US. That would relieve the cost burden on both insurance companies and government programs like Medicare.Nah. Forget that. We’ll just go bankrupt first, instead.What a country! Chuck Waggoner

Dave Tufte

Thanks Joshua!

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