Archive for June 12, 2009
Another Reason Why Health Insurance Coverage Should Not Be Left In The Hands Of Private Insurers
Center for Media and Democracy
The Weekly Spin, June, 2009
“…the main objective for insurance companies is not to safeguard customers' well-being, but to generate profits.“
Source: The Province (Canada), June 5, 2009
Tobacco use is a major cause of fatal lung diseases and cancer, and is known to elevate the risk for heart attack and stroke. The study found that the American insurance company Prudential Financial, Inc. has $264.3 million invested in U.S. cigarette makers, including Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. The Canadian company Sun Life Financial, Inc., which sells life, health and disability insurance, owns over $1 billion worth of stock in tobacco interests, including $890 million in Philip Morris. Prudential Plc, which sells health and disability coverage, has $1.38 billion invested in two tobacco companies, including British American Tobacco.
Wesley Boyd, the study's lead author and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School, says that while it may seem self-defeating for companies to sell insurance while also owning tobacco stocks, insurers have found ways to profit from both.
“Insurers exclude smokers from coverage or, more commonly, charge them higher premiums. Insurers profit – and smokers lose – twice over.”
Study co-author David Himmelstien explains, “It's the combined taxidermist-and-veterinarian approach: either way, you get your dog back.” Boyd adds that the main objective for insurance companies is not to safeguard customers' well-being, but to generate profits. The authors also point to this study as a reason why health insurance coverage should not be left in the hands of private insurers.
Grassley Tries to Sell Iowans Edsel
Our friend Dave Bradley – who we like to think of as Iowa's Jim Hightower – sent the following letter to several editors the other day. We are republishing today with permission.
“Americans are tired of having a health care system that is the equal of Slovenia and Costa Rica.”
Grassley getting stressed?
Senator Grassley is making some strange statements these days. He sounds like a person who is stressed out because so many people are demanding what he refuses to give them. That would be a viable public option or single payer health care system like every other industrialized country has.
Grassley has a million – actually 1.5 million reasons – why he must sell us on our current broken – and way too expensive – health care system. That would be campaign contributions to his reelection fund from those who stand to benefit from his position. Some would see this as a dictionary definition of a bribe.
So now Grassley must be the worst epitome of a used car salesman trying to get us into an Edsel at full price while we look around and see others driving sleek new cars that cost much less.
Mr. Grassley, this would truly be a good time to listen to your constituents. If you don’t, you may have to buy health insurance from the system you supported after next year. Then you will realize what a truly miserable system it is.
Americans are tired of having a health care system that is the equal of Slovenia and Costa Rica.
Dave Bradley is a self-described retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got so screwed up.” An
Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife
Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find
decent paying jobs.“