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Practices in Health & Disability Insurance - The Lives & Wealth They Cost America

Thursday, October 18, 2007 General News J E 4
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SANTA ROSA, Calif., Oct. 17 Health anddisability insurance companies are systematically cheating the Americanpublic.

The results of an investigation of practices by health and disabilityinsurers and their effect on America are detailed in this new JustHealth-funded study.

Insurers provide no healthcare goods or services.

Health insurance costs are rising 2-to-3 times faster than inflation.Medical debt is the number one cause of personal bankruptcy.

We pay much more per capita and get less healthcare than the rest of theindustrialized world.

Approximately 16% of Americans are uninsured, 18,000 die prematurely eachyear because of this. Many more die because their insurers delay, diminish, ordeny payment for promised benefits.

Reports about people dying from insurer misconduct seldom receive broadcoverage in the media. Lack of media coverage has led to a nation uninformedabout how our national health policies are controlled by the insuranceindustry.

Insurance companies are in business to make as much money as possible.They do so by systematically delaying, diminishing, and denying payment forpromised services, and blaming individuals for their own misfortune.

On the boards of directors of the 9 largest insurance companies are 113people. They hold 150 past and/or present positions with major financial orinvestment institutions, and are connected to some of the largest corporationsin the world. Their combined affiliations represent 2006 revenue of over$2,500,000,000,000.

They spend millions on campaign donations, lobbying and media saturationto convince us that we need them, despite overwhelming evidence that we wouldall be better off without them.

Spending for administrative costs associated with health insurance exceeds30% of health care costs in the US...and insurance companies provide no healthcare. They are just middlemen.

Americans have a choice: continue with a profit-driven insurance system inwhich insurers systematically delay, diminish, and deny promised benefits --leaving millions of Americans without necessary care; or we can build a commonpool health care system that provides necessary care to everyone -- for lessthan what we are paying now.

-- Peter Phillips: Professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University andDirector of Project Censored. Bridget Thornton: graduate student,Interdisciplinary Studies Program. All statements above are fully documentedin their new study "Practices in Health Care and Disability Insurance: Delay,Diminish Deny and Blame" -- http://www.justhealthnow.org.

SOURCE JustHealth
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