In November, I read this article in The New York Times on How Medical Care Is Being Corrupted. In a nutshell — Insurance carriers have been incentivizing care for more than 20 years by selectively paying for some services whilst denying others.
To successfully address a complicated problem, such as long-standing pain, more than one approach is often most effective albeit initially more expensive. As a Pain Medicine physician, I have witnessed the defunding of the only approach that has been found to be consistently successful (by the Cochrane database for systematic reviews) in addressing patients disabled by chronic back pain: comprehensive multidisciplinary pain treatment centers.
While cost should be a consideration in choosing treatment – it should not be the primary deciding factor. For-profit insurance companies can be effective in helping policyholders fund their medical care but they are constrained by conflicting interests
- A moral and ethical obligation to care for policyholders who have purchased a policy to protect their health.
- Shareholders who have invested in the company and expect each quarter to produce a reasonable profit.
If you believe, as I do, that health insurance not be allowed to be a for profit enterprise, join in a national discussion to legislate that all health insurance be not-for-profit. Insurance companies should only exist for the protection of the individual patient.