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#368993 - 12/17/0902:56 PMRe: What to do about healthcare? Can it be fixed?
I did realize that you were referring to liability coverage - but relating it to healthcare. Just as most large employers are self-insured for healthcare, they are also self-insured (or self-funded if you prefer) for liability, theft, damage and most other casualty losses. Have you ever wondered why most University based physicians do not carry malpractice insurance? ... They don't need it...
I also understood the point that you were trying to make. I just think that you are totally missing the mark. Yes, insurance companies are (for the most part) for-profit corporations. So are doctors, drug companies, cigarette manufacturers, auto makers, movie theaters and film production companies. The cold harsh reality is that companies need to make a profit to survive. Could we honestly expect to attract the best business minds to the insurance industry if no profit was to be made? Could we attract and retain the best doctors if they had to moonlight at the local Jiffy-Mart to feed their children? Would we see good film or schlock if there was no profit to be had in film production? The reality is that Health Insurance is profitable in the US, but at an average of 3% to 4%, not egregiously so. Companies in the pleasure businesses make much more substantial profits. Personally, I am disturbed by the out-of-control profits in the sports and entertainment industries, beer and liquor distributorships, cigarette manufacturers, etc. At the same time, I don't think the government should take over Budweiser to protect the average Joe Six Pack from prices higher then he wants to pay.
Since the University that employs your wife is probably self-insured, the details of their liability protection - and the restrictions your wife's students are chafing under - were determined by someone at the University; probably the Comptroller or the Comptroller's office. (Even if it was a true insurance policy, the ultimate purchaser of the policy - again probably the Comptroller - made a business decision.) Since the concept of insurance is something that people think they understand, (key word here being "think") the University, like most companies, continues to refer to it as insurance. There are probably fewer then 10 people at the University that actually have true knowledge of the details of the liability, healthcare, casualty, etc coverage. The average employee (even highly placed employees) will tell you that "of course" it is traditional insurance. ... Oh yea, and that the insurance company is doing everything it can to deny claims! In fact, in this type of arrangement, they only make money when they pay claims.
When I said that the key word in the paragraph above was "think", I was not trying to be offensive. I do know a lot about this. I work in this arena every day. (I do NOT work for an insurance company). Frequently, when I read the message boards, and especially threads like this one, I struggle with my desire to jump in and correct people's misconceptions about HOW the healthcare and healthcare funding industries actually work in this and other countries. I think you would be amazed at how unhappy the average American would be with a health care system controlled in whole or in part by the federal government (any more then it already is) ... something that will happen if there is any form of "public option". Ultimately, I usually bite my tongue and move on to another thread. Perhaps that is for the best.