Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Health Insurance Parasites Injure Their Hosts

In a blatant, transparent, and pretty smart bid for more leverage in the health insurance reform battles (and to boost readership, too, one supposes), HuffPost is soliciting stories which illustrate the damages and injuries inflicted upon people who have had the temerity to expect their HIP coverage to aid them in getting well.

For millions of Americans, adequate health care is still out of reach -- and not just because of spiraling premium costs.

As President Obama pointed out in a NYT op-ed last summer, a recent survey found that over the last three years, more than 12 million Americans were either refused overall coverage, refused coverage for a specific condition or subject to higher premium costs.

And even those who believe they're fully insured may not be as protected as they hope. Recurring examples of insurers digging up and scrutinizing customers' old records after they get sick suggest perverse incentives for companies to dump their customers once they fall ill. Some insurance companies have even been found to award bonuses and better performance reviews to employees who revoke the most policies.

We compiled a list of some of the worst cases of insurance companies denying sick customers access to medical care. Check them out below -- and if you've been denied coverage, click (HERE, scroll down) and tell us your story.
Case in point:
After 17-year-old college student Jerome Mitchell tested positive for HIV in 2002, his health insurance company retroactively annulled his coverage. Fortis Insurance claimed that a nurse's note written before his coverage began may have indicated that Mitchell had already known he had contracted HIV. The note turned out to be an error, and earlier this year, the South Carolina Supreme Court called the company's behavior "reprehensible" and ordered it to pay Mitchell $10 million in damages.
Now, please refer back to the italicized text in the HuffPost description of its enterprise.

Do you detect any anomaly, any puzzling tropes, and suggestive usages?

I call your attention to the phrase "perverse incentives." They are nothing of the kind, within the logic of the corpoRat/capitalist enterprise that is Health Insurance Parasitism. Inside that logic, nothing is MORE rational than to cut your losses. If that means killing people--because in this society, inability to be insured is a (slow) death sentence--then so be it. "Incentivizing" functionally corpoRat behavior is not "perverse."

It is, of course, the logic of the corporaRat/capitalist model itself that is fundamentally perverse, flawed, stunted.

But apparently the author of the HuffPost post, Grace Kiser, either couldn't bring herself to say so, or it was not in her scope of interpretation.

Either is distressing, from a putative source of meaningful social critique.

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