Managers of for-profit insurance corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits, which they do by cherry-picking the healthiest customers with lower prices, driving insurers who cover the sick to ever higher prices. Eventually there’s no affordable insurance for those who need it most. (For details on how this works, see Wikipedia’s entry on "adverse selection.")
The major industrialized nations have figured this out and bans for-profit insurers from the basic healthcare market:
Last year, former Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid made a great documentary for the PBS show Frontline titled Sick Around the World.
Reid traveled to five countries that deliver health care for all – UK, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan – to learn about how they do it.
Reid found that the one thing these five countries had in common – none allowed for-profit health insurance companies to sell basic medical coverage.
Reid’s bottom line for health care reform – don’t let health insurance companies profit from selling basic health insurance.
They can sell for-profit insurance for extras – breast enlargements, botox, hair transplants.
But not for the basic health needs of the American people.
In the United States of America, free-market for-profit capitalism an article of faith. But, while profit-based capitalism works well in some areas, it doesn’t in the are of basic health insurance. But it appears that yet another generation of Americans is about to nail itself to that rugged free-market cross.