Why do we have a private health insurance industry again?

In my brief experience in the blogosphere, my first lesson has been that writing the words “insurance companies” reliably prompts the largest number of R-rated responses. This is not surprising, since people are so regularly provoked to the inhumanity and pervidity of our private insurance system. I and other not-especially radical folks increasingly scratch our heads to wonder: Why do we have this industry again?

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.