We know the many reasons in favor of a single payer health coverage system, and the many “Sicko” charges against ruthless private insurers, but it may be helpful if activists, and Single Payer supporters in Congress, asked – What are the reasons in favor of Private Health Insurance?† The excuses given publicly by industry supporters have been sometimes laughable, always insufficient across the board.
Some of the real reasons:
To assure continued profits and shareholder earnings in the for-profit arena, and maximum earnings for managers of the non-profits, of course.
To assure continued supply of revenue for insurer investments in even some of the worst health-damaging firms on Wall StreetÖincluding military contractors, pesticides, oil, mountaintop removal coal mining, nukes, GM ìfoodsî, cigarette manufacturing, chlorine, and so forth.
To maintain control over medical research so that it doesnít indict insurer investment properties in the areas of industrial chemicals (above all, chlorine), insufficiently-tested pharmaceuticals, and other industrial health threats and causes of illness.
To retain power to discredit, under-fund, restrict, and even outlaw non-patentable (i.e., not so profitable) healthful and medicinal thingsósuch as medical marijuana, vitamins, nutrients, minerals, natural food diets, herbal medicines, vegan diets, acupuncture, holistic medicine, and even tobacco (w/out all the toxic, carcinogenic, fire-starting, addiction-enhancing, and un-tested non-tobacco industrial contaminants, of course).
To retain the power to influence legislation against, and blame of, all sorts of non-industrial health risks such as peopleís behavior, peopleís diet (but not pesticides in food), peopleís lack of exercise, unsafe driving (but not unsafe cars), drinking, use of tobacco plants (but not use of deadly tobacco pesticides and fertilizers), bugs, germs, bacteria (but not unsanitary food production), the sun (but not ozone-depleting CFCs), and so forth.
To retain the linkage of health coverage to employment (often of businesses in which for-profit insurers invest) essentially blackmailing employees into staying at hateful jobs, remaining silent about union organizing, and keeping quiet about unsafe or unjust work conditions.
To incidentally keep the low-income classes as sick, dysfunctional, fractured, and un-empowered as possible to prevent effective organizing and actions against the Corporatocracy.
To reinforce the policy of privatizing every possible public service.
To assure the highest possible drug costs-thereby benefiting pharmaceuticals in which for-profit insurers invest.
To protect profits of the insurance advertising industry.
And to bring in revenue for political campaign funding-even for candidates an insurance ìcustomerî may oppose.
There is not a speck of Public Interest in any of that. In fact, it is quite contrary to the public interest in matters of health, science, law, personal economy, and even democracy.