As the consolidation of insurers continues to leave Californians with fewer options for affordable premiums, it has become increasingly clear that even in the Obamacare era, providing broad and affordable coverage has never been the goal of insurance companies and the corporate politicians in government. Although the United States spends significantly more per capita on healthcare than any other nation, it ranks last in life expectancy when compared to the top 12 most industrialized nations.
The primary motive for any corporation under capitalism is to build profits for shareholders. Industries primarily exist insofar as they can turn a profit, and it turns out, illness, disability, and the fear of both can be incredibly lucrative to exploit.
For all of their talk of providing essential services at a reasonable price to consumers, insurance companies are really just gambling on the health, and sickness, of their customers, hoping to make high returns on the hard earned money of working people. The basis for their business is bringing in as much as they can and paying out as little as they can get away with.
A recent investigation by ProPublica and the New York Times found that insurers were charging higher copayments for prescription medications that actually cost less using coupons and savings programs. While these insurers attempted to explain the price differences as anomalies, the pattern is clear: health insurance companies are attempting to price gouge everywhere they can. The corporations do not care about saving lives, they only care if they can make a profit.
And it’s not just existing insurers that want to cash in on sickness. Just this past week, shareholders of CVS and Aetna voted overwhelmingly to approve a deal that would allow the retail pharmacy to gobble up the insurance giant if approved by federal regulators. With this deal, the corporate shareholders will save immensely on backend costs, but the public will never see those savings. Aaron Katz, a public health policy expert out of the University of Washington, argues that there is no “convincing evidence” to support the healthcare industry’s claims that these mergers will benefit anyone but the shareholders.
Per their own marketing campaigns, health insurance corporations would like people to think that in exchange for reasonable premiums, they have your back if you get sick. They want to position themselves as good guys who are there for you in your time of need. The reality is much different. For those who need them most, health insurance companies do nothing but bleed their customers for premiums and then continue to find excuses to cut costs and increase profit margins while providing only the services that they decide are essential, often without consulting a medical doctor.
Health insurance companies exist for one reason and one reason alone: to commodify, exploit, and profit from healthcare. They are really parasitic organizations that provide no necessary service. That’s why the Hrizi for Insurance Commissioner advocates for Single Payer Healthcare Now! and Abolish the Insurance Companies!
On June 5th, vote for Nathalie Hrizi for California Insurance Commissioner and vote socialist!