Bioethics Discussion Blog: Are Insurance Companies the Dodder of the United States Medical Care System?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are Insurance Companies the Dodder of the United States Medical Care System?


Dodder is a plant parasite (See the Addendum below for details.)


The suggested analogy to Dodder is mine, but according to Jonathan Kellerman's Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal April 14, 2008; Page A15
The health insurance model is closest to the parasitic relationship imposed by the Mafia and the like. Insurance companies provide nothing other than an ambiguous, shifty notion of “protection.” But even the Mafia doesn’t stick its nose into the process; once the monthly skim is set, Don Whoever stays out of the picture, but for occasional “cost of doing business” increases. When insurance companies insinuate themselves into the system, their first step is figuring out how to increase the skim by harming the people they are allegedly protecting through reduced service. …

Once they affix themselves to the host – in this case dual hosts, both doctor and patient – they systematically suck the lifeblood out of the supply chain with obstructive strategies. For that reason, the consequences of any insurance-based health-care model, be it privately run, or a government entitlement, are painfully easy to predict. There will be progressively draconian rationing using denial of authorization and steadily rising co-payments on the patient end; massive paperwork and other bureaucratic hurdles, and steadily diminishing fee-recovery on the doctor end.


Go to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog April 14, 2008 to read from the visitors there a most interesting and educational discussion of the Kellerman opinion. Then come back and express your own opinions here. ..Maurice.

Photograph taken by me 5-26-2008 Omelveny Park, San Fernando Valley, California.

ADDENDUM: From Colorado State University Extension Website:

Dodder (Cuscuta and Grammica), is a twining yellow or orange plant sometimes tinged with purple or red. Occasionally it is almost white. The stems can be very thin and thread-like or relatively stout (a species characteristic). …Dodder is classified as a member of the Morning-Glory Family (Convolvulaceae) in older references, and as a member of the Dodder Family (Cuscutaceae) in the more recent publications. …Dodder produces seed that drops to the ground and germinate the next growing season if a suitable host is present. If no suitable host is present, the seed may remain dormant for five years.
Dodder seedlings must attach to a suitable host within a few days of germinating or they die. The young seedling is sensitive to touch and yellowish stem gropes in the air until it makes contact with a plant. The contact is made firm by one or more coils about the stem. If this plant happens to contain foods suitable to the dodder then a secondary stimulus is aroused which causes root-like branches (haustoria) to form and penetrate the stem. The basal part of the parasite soon shrivels away so that no soil connection exists.

3 Comments:

At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Here is an example how Medicare has used "secret shoppers" to find insurance companies and their agents' abuses toward their patient customers. ..Maurice.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2008 3:11:00 PM, Blogger Joel Sherman said...

Insurance companies provide NO health care. That's what Hillary got wrong when she tried it. She based 'Hillary Care' on insurance companies, exactly the wrong people. Physicians, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and equipment makers all provide real health care benefits. All insurance companies do is ration care and skim off profits so that the CEO of UnitedHealth could retire with a pension of near 1 BILLION dollars (later revoked with legal action).
There's nothing insurance companies do that a federal bureaucracy can't do without a profit motive. That doesn't mean I love the Medicare bureaucracy but at least at some level they are answerable to the public and the chief is not paid 100's of millions. I don't believe any other Western country bases their health system on an insurance model which is flawed in its very conception. It is not rational to insure against health problems which everyone needs at some point in their lives. You insure against unlikely risks like fire, but not against a certainty. A different mechanism such as federal health care is needed for that.

 
At Sunday, June 08, 2008 3:58:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Joel, I fully agree with you when you bring out the irrationality of attempting to insure for health problems when we all are going to experience some health problem. The unjustice to society then is "cherry picking" coverage. It would be interesting to read here a defense for the current medical insurance model. ..Maurice.

 

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