"There's absolutely no substance to the argument that there's less bang for the buck.  As long as it's not your home, or kidney, that's on the line."............it appears the order of business comes before health care...BD

You buy a Band-Aid. You get a scrape. You use your Band-Aid. And the next time you go to the drugstore, you're told that you have to pay more for Band-Aids. Or maybe they won't sell you another Band-Aid at all. That, in essence, is what seems to be happening in the insurance business.

This week we've had two stark reminders of how screwy this industry has become. First, of course, there are the fires that have devastated parts of Southern California. Then there's the matter of health insurers canceling coverage for people after they submit claims for medical treatment. The practice has become so prevalent that state regulators this week announced measures to crack down on what they termed acts of cruelty by insurers against patients.

Spring Valley resident Sal D'Anna says he knows all about that. He took out a health insurance policy with PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. in February 2006. D'Anna, 35, was subsequently diagnosed with kidney cancer and had to have one of his kidneys removed.

In August 2006, he was informed by PacifiCare that his coverage was being canceled. Tyler Mason, a PacifiCare spokesman, responded that as the case proceeds through arbitration, "it will become clear that our actions related to Mr. D'Anna's case were appropriate."

"The private insurance business is a business, first and foremost," said Fernando Torres-Gil, acting dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs. "As a business, the goal is to minimize payouts and maximize profits."

Insurers taking risk out of the equation - Los Angeles Times


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