Saturday, May 09, 2009

"I got it for wholesale": Health insurance companies get cheaper prices than us

When recent Senate hearings on healthcare allowed fifteen different private health insurance lobbyists to present their various wish lists to Congress regarding which direction their corporations wanted American healthcare to take -- but did not allow even one representative of single-payer healthcare to even be present in the room let alone plead their case, my blood pressure went up. But I'm not alone. Almost every blogger, consumer advocate and small-business owner in the country right now is reaching a boiling point on this subject too.

And when thinking people everywhere began to juxtapose these lopsided Senate hearings next to the recent swine flu fiasco wherein the media went ape-dookie over the death of one person from the H1N1 virus while completely ignoring millions of possible American deaths due to lack of access to healthcare, this slick glossing over of the obvious lack of available and affordable healthcare in America became a national scandal and an international joke.

So. With so much pressure from angry Americans who are DEMANDING a single-payer healthcare plan that could save hundreds of thousands of American lives, how long do you think that Congress and the media are going to be able to hold out? Quite a long time, thank you. There's money to be made here. The people who Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (Kos for short) calls America's "gatekeepers" are not gonna give all that $$$$ up just because it is good for Americans.

That pisses me off.

But you know what pisses me off even more? The fact that people who have no access to healthcare insurance at all -- the people who would be the most hurt by enormous medical bills -- are the very ones who are forced to pay retail for their medications, operations, doctors' visits and hospital stays -- while healthcare insurance companies can "get it for you wholesale".

You heard me.

I used to write legal settlement briefs for a living. The pay wasn't very good but writing a personal injury settlement brief was like writing a soap opera -- it was fun. And when I sent for the medical records of the poor long-suffering clients that I wrote for, I always received copies of their medical bills too. And guess what? Each bill would always list the amount of money charged to a client if the client didn't have health insurance -- or else it would list the amount charged to a client with health insurance. And the amount charged to clients WITH healthcare insurance was always considerably lower than that charged to the clients who obviously needed a financial break the most.

For instance, a doctor's visit would cost your average insurance-less schmuck approximately $60. But the same doctor's visit would cost your average health insurance provider only $35 -- or less. "I got it for wholesale!"

With or without the blessing of Congress and the media, just exactly how long is the American public going to tolerate either continuing to be fleeced by health insurance middle-men or else watching their loved ones sicken and die due to lack of access to healthcare? Just how long does Congress and the media think they are going to be able to keep a lid on this boiling pot? I think that P.T. Barnum has the answer to that one. "There's a sucker born every minute."

If we voters, consumers, sick people and Americans don't do everything that we possibly can to bypass the health insurance industry's "gatekeepers" in Congress and in the media -- and make our demands known with such insistance that even "our" government has no choice except to give us single-payer health insurance ASAP, then P.T. Barnum is obviously right.

Single-payer healthcare? It's an idea whose time has come. It's time for Americans to band together, bypass our Congressional and media gatekeepers and "get it for wholesale" ourselves.