I know this will seem strange coming from me, but at times, I find myself conflicted in my opinion on nationalizing the health care system in the US (as Congress is currently debating). I'm strongly of the opinion that it will be bad for our economy, reduce the qualify of care, drive skilled and intelligent people out of the field, raise costs, be horrible for the long-term financial solvency of the country, and contrary to much of what America stands for. On the other hand, though, if ever a business and group of people is so despicable, so intentionally ineffectual, and so malignant as to richly deserve comprehensive summary execution in the business sense, the private medical insurance industry is such a beast, and the not-insignificant silver-lining of a government takeover would be to see all those people cast out like the garbage they collectively are.
Let's look at some anecdotal examples from my life, which has been (thankfully) largely medical-issue free:
- I have always had [good] medical coverage through employer plans, HMO or PPO, I'm the "easy" case
- I had an emergency room visit which took four years, multiple legal threats, and weeks of my time to eventually resolve with the insurance company, the hospital, and multiple collection agencies, which caused untold stress and unfairly damaged my credit rating
- I had a primary care physician facility which I literally could not contact over the phone to do anything (they never picked up or returned calls), and I couldn't schedule anything without going through them due to HMO restrictions
- Over 50% of my medical visits (routine checkups, etc.) have resulting in insurance billing "issues" which I have needed to intervene to resolve
- I can't get prescription drugs covered by my medical plan without manual calls to the company every single time, because their automated system is always wrong (it seems the default is to not pay anything unless the covered patient calls, waits on hold, and corrects the problem every time)
- I dread going to the emergency room, even though I have medical insurance, because I know it's inevitably going to lead to a billing problem, which will be months of work for me
- I have an outstanding bill for "lab work" from six months ago, where the other parts of the visit were billed correctly, but somehow this part cannot be fixed, or the various participants don't want to resolve it, but rather just repeatedly bill the patient
- I can't imagine how much of my time will need to be spent on just dealing with medical insurance problems if/when I have children; given my current experience, it might literally be a part-time job
I'm not harboring any delusions: nationalizing the process is unlikely to make any of these problems better. There would be ways to fix most of them, but they are beyond the Neanderthalic thought-processes of our Congress-scum. Nevertheless, if and when our government destroys private medical insurance in the US, I will not cry for these companies; they are a blight on the country in their current form and operation, and they are the most compelling argument for health-care nationalization.