I’ll have a post tomorrow about the Republican opposition to S-CHIP, a federally-funded health insurance program. While writing the post, a question occurred to me:
Why is private health insurance not called corporate health insurance?
Private health insurance connotes an image of a small mom-and-pop business which insures a few hundred people. Of course, even the smallest health insurance corporations are much larger than what would be considered a small business. All health insurance corporations are huge (although some are gargantuan).
Those of us who favor healthcare reform will find our task much easier, I think, if we remind people that private insurance means insured by corporations. Not only are many people distrustful of corporations, but the use of the word private also implies that a ‘government’ plan would be more inefficient, even though that would not be the case.
Liberals, progressives, and other members of the Coalition of the Sane need to start calling private insurance by its rightful name: corporate insurance.
Critical distinction, isn’t it? But I don’t think it will get called by its more accurate name for the same reason that the media calls the subject “universal healthcare” or “universal coverage” when it refers to mandatory purchase of health insurance policies.
Insurance policies have no relationship to the use and accessibility of health services, and I believe they are inversely correlated with health. The use of insurance policies adds no value to health or healthcare, and the insurance industry parasitically exists to drain dollars from the services, providers and users of health care to feed its investors and shareholders.
An improvement, yes. But should we not worry about our healthcare being dealt out by multinationals? Not that American corporations would necessarily care about being good citizens, but why would foreign investors and speculators be any different from their like their oil-business comrades? It’s all about maximizing ROI.
Here in Soviet Canuckistan, we have lots of private health providers. What we don’t have is private for-profit health providers. That makes a lot of difference.
(An empirical difference, actually, since Devereaux et al did a huge literature review metastudy and reported mortality differences between for-profit and non-profit healthcare, which appeared in the CMAJ. The link is online, but I’m admittedly too lazy right now to dig it up.)