Monday, November 16, 2020
U.S. GAO - Private Health Insurance: Markets Remained Concentrated through 2018, with Increases in the Individual and Small Group Markets
U.S. GAO - Private Health Insurance: Markets Remained Concentrated through 2018, with Increases in the Individual and Small Group Markets Comment by Don McCanne: "In rejecting Medicare for All, President-elect Joe Biden says, "I support private insurance." This GAO report is just one more factor that should make us question his wisdom on this topic. The private insurance market is heavily concentrated and that concentration has increased with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As a representative of the American Hospital Association states, "highly concentrated insurance markets reduce patient choice, endanger patient care and increase their costs." Further, "This allows health plans to adopt policies that benefit them financially and not patients. Such lack of competition encourages plans to pull a bait-and-switch on patients: delaying and denying medically necessary care that patients paid for through their premiums." Of course, single payer improved Medicare for All would ultimately concentrate health care financing into one single payer, but the difference would be that it would be our own payer, owned by the people, while returning to us the free choice that we want, the choice of health care professionals and hospitals that the private insurers take away from us. The American Hospital Association understands the evil of concentrated health insurance markets, but they don't seem to have much to say about the increasing market concentration of the hospital industry which we see has increased hospital prices. Under single payer Medicare for All hospitals would be placed on global budgets, just like we do for fire departments. For those in the hospital industry who express concerns over global budgeting, maybe we should offer to nationalize the hospitals, creating our own national health service. Regardless, we do have to get rid of the private insurance industry because they are out of control, and that harms too many of us."
Posted by Craig at 4:17 PM