“A stake through its cold and greedy heart”

Sheldon Whitehouse on the insurance business model that reform will displace. Good stuff.

Sheldon Whitehouse, yesterday:

The bad behavior you see on the Senate floor is the last, thrashing throes of the health insurance industry as it watches its business model die. You who are watching and listening know this business model if you or a loved one have been sick – the business model that won’t insure you if they think you’ll get sick, or you have a pre-existing condition. The business model that if they insure you and you do get sick, Job One is to find loopholes to throw you off your coverage and abandon you alone to your illness. The business model, when they can’t find that loophole, that they’ll try to interfere with or deny you the care your doctor has ordered. And the business model that, when all else fails and they can’t avoid you or abandon you or deny you, they just stiff the doctor and the hospital, and deny and delay their payments for as long as possible – or perhaps tell the hospital to collect from you first – and maybe they’ll reimburse you. Good riddance to that business model. We know it all too well. It deserves a stake through its cold and greedy heart, but some of our colleagues here are fighting to the death to keep it alive.

The main thrust of the speech is about Republican behavior rather than the substance of the bill, but this is the best capsule description I’ve seen yet of the system currently in need of reform.

The speech as a whole is worth reading; the theme is the adoption of Hofstadter’s “paranoid style in politics” as official Republican dogma.   Had I been giving it, I probably would have omitted the references to the Reign of Terror and Kristallnacht and lynching, but it fully justifies the buzz about Whitehouse’s eloquence.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on ““A stake through its cold and greedy heart””

  1. Unfortunately the "business" that uses this "model" is still very much in control. The fact is it is much more than a "model". It is the logic of the profit system.

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