From Barbara writer...frequent contributor to the New York Times...she makes some good points and leaves a lot to think about here...BD 

After facing down the Third Reich, the Japanese Empire, the U.S.S.R., Saddam Hussein, the United States has met an enemy it dares not confront -- the American private health insurance industry.

Will I be arrested if I resist paying $10,000 a year for a private policy laden with killer co-pays and deductibles?  Unlike any other industry, this one grows by rejecting customers. No matter how shabby you look, Cartier, Lexus, or Nordstrom’s will happily take your money. Not Aetna. If you have a prior conviction -- excuse me, a pre-existing condition -- it doesn’t want your business.

We can’t just leap to a single payer system, he said in so many words, because it would be too disruptive, given the size of the private health insurance industry. Then I heard it yesterday from a Chicago woman who leads a nonprofit agency serving the poor: How can we go to a Canadian-style system when the private industry has gotten so “big”?

This in turn generates ever more employment in doctors’ offices to battle the insurance companies. Dr. Atul Gawande, a practicing physician, wrote in The New Yorker that ''a well-run office can get the insurer's rejection rate down from 30 percent to, say, 15 percent. That’s how a doctor makes money. It's a war with insurance, every step of the way.'' And that’s another thing your insurance premium has to pay for: the ongoing "war" between doctors and insurers.

AlterNet: Health and Wellness: Why Does Everyone Bow Down to the Health Insurance Industry?

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, Harpers, and the Progressive, she is a contributing writer to Time magazine. She lives in Florida.


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