By Ben Cohen
For those of you still wedded to the idea that private health insurance is the best way to get people the health care they need, please take the time to watch this fascinating interview with former head of corporate communications for CIGNA Wendell Potter (h/t Chez Pazienza).
Bill Moyers talks with Potter on the structure of the industry that puts profit over people and denies sick people crucial care. Here’s an interesting exchange on why the insurance industry is so opposed to a public plan:
WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely right. It’s the way the American system has evolved, the political system.
But it does offend me, that the vested special interests, who are so
profitable and so powerful, are able to influence public policy in the
way that they have, and the way that they’ve done over the years. And
the insurance industry has been one of the most successful, in beating
back any kinds of legislation that would hinder or affect the
profitability of the companies.
BILL MOYERS: Why is public insurance, a public option, so fiercely opposed by the industry?
The industry doesn’t want to have any competitor. In fact, over the
course of the last few years, has been shrinking the number of
competitors through a lot of acquisitions and mergers. So first of all,
they don’t want any more competition period. They certainly don’t want
it from a government plan that might be operating more efficiently than
they are, that they operate. The Medicare program that we have here is
a government-run program that has administrative expenses that are like
three percent or so.
BILL MOYERS: Compared to the industry’s–
They spend about 20 cents of every premium dollar on overhead, which is
administrative expense or profit. So they don’t want to compete against
a more efficient competitor.
So, the private sector is afraid of the public sector because it would be more efficient? It goes to show you how ridiculous the idea that the ‘free market’ works best in providing people health care. It doesn’t, and the private sector knows it. That’s why they’re spending millions of dollars convincing everyone that it is. For more on how to help fight the corporations, go here:
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.