Ultimately, Wall Street is at the bottom of our health care reform problems. Insurance companies are corporations that must nurture the bottom line at any cost to American citizens who as patients must rely of the good will of insurance companies. These companies have little, if any, of that particular commodity. Since the bottom line is shareholder profits, not patient care, insurance companies must deny a variety of claims in order to secure the appropriate–the sky’s the limit of appropriateness–level of profits. Some insurance practices, regarding individual policies, for example, will surreptitiously renew policies every six months in order to maximize the chances that they will be in a position to deny a claim due to “pre-existing conditions.” Other practices include refusing to insure patients, fine print qualification that can be deadly, caps on lifetime support for patients, discriminating on the basis of gender, and a host of other devices that benefit corporations not patients. Thomas Jefferson predicted as much. Consider his words: “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations [including health care insurance companies I hope] which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance the laws our country.” –Thomas Jefferson, November 12, 1816. Prescient, as if our third president were writing today. What will we do it about this most egegious injustice?
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