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Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry is Dying, and How We Must Replace It download epub

by M.D. John Geyman


Epub Book: 1212 kb. | Fb2 Book: 1575 kb.

The insurance industry was not always as focused on profits as it is now. Geyman takes us on a tour through the history . The Blues could not survive without doing the same thing.

The insurance industry was not always as focused on profits as it is now. Geyman takes us on a tour through the history of private coverage, showing how the original Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans were about spreading risk across a broad pool and keeping coverage affordable. As commercial carriers came into the market, they brought with them "medical underwriting" which looks at applicants in terms of how much they might cost the company. Today, most of the Blue Cross companies are for-profit, many having been acquired by one of the big players in health insurance.

Bibliographic Citation. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2008. Myths and Memes About Single-Payer Health Insurance in the United States: A Rebuttal to Conservative Claims . Geyman, John P. (2005). Related Items in Google Scholar.

Geyman, John . 1931-. Health care reform, Health insurance, Medical economics, Medically uninsured persons, Medical care. Monroe, ME : Common Courage Press. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by AltheaB on September 27, 2011.

Do Not Resuscitate book. Must Replace It. Written for lay readers, health care professionals, and policymakers alike, Do Not Resuscitate moves beyond books that decry our current problems to reveal what the trend for more than half a century of increasing costs and decreasing coverage really means. The situation for doctors, patients, caregivers, and even the insured will move from dysfunctional to a complete breakdown over the next decade.

Resuscitate : Why the Health Insurance Industry Is Dying, and How We Must Replace It.

Do Not Resuscitate : Why the Health Insurance Industry Is Dying, and How We Must Replace It. by John Geyman.

Sometimes it also prevents other medical interventions.

The New England Journal of Medicine 'The raging debate over how to pay for health insurance has missed a profoundly important fact: As big as it is, as tight of a grip it has on American life, the health insurance industry is dying,' states John Geyman, MD, inDo Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry is Dying, and How We Must Replace It. Written for lay readers, health care professionals, and policymakers alike,Do Not Resuscitate moves beyond books that decry . John Geyman is professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington.

Centrally, Geyman argues that he way the health insurance companies control the market does not favor the people that need insurance coverage the most. He walks us through the problems step by step to show what the problems are, and why and how so-called health care reform has not come about after being debated for over three decades. He also argues that significant fundamental reform has become mandatory to get the health insurance industry on the right track.

“Geyman’s literary voice arises from his unusual professional and political trajectories: from country doctor to academic department chair and prominent journal editor, and from longtime Republican to president of Physicians for a National Health Program . . . a passionate advocate and scholar.”—The New England Journal of Medicine

“The raging debate over how to pay for health insurance has missed a profoundly important fact: As big as it is, as tight of a grip it has on American life, the health insurance industry is dying,” states John Geyman, MD, in Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry is Dying, and How We Must Replace It.    Written for lay readers, health care professionals, and policymakers alike, Do Not Resuscitate moves beyond books that decry our current problems to reveal what the trend for more than half a century of increasing costs and decreasing coverage really means. The situation for doctors, patients, caregivers, and even the insured will move from dysfunctional to a complete breakdown over the next decade. In one of many examples Geyman cites, as employers cut costs in a global economy, the cost of health insurance as a proportion of wages is rising to the point where it will consume all average household income by 2025.

John Geyman is professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of The Corrosion of Medicine: Can the Profession Reclaim its Moral Legacy?, Falling Through the Safety Net: Americans Without Health Insurance, and Shredding the Social Contract: The Privatization of Medicare.


Comments: (2)

Yanki
In this highly researched and well-written book, Dr. John Geyman lays out in clear language the repeated failure of the private health insurance industry to provide affordable and comprehensive coverage. With a wealth of facts and figures, Dr. Geyman shows how the continuous rise of health care costs has meant insurance companies must work hard at excluding anyone who might require expensive treatment, reduce coverage for everyone and constantly raise premium rates.

This has led to awareness on the part of the public that their insurance may not protect them from medical bankruptcy. Americans now see that a serious illness can mean huge debt, wipe out their retirement savings and even mean selling their home to pay the bills.

The insurance industry was not always as focused on profits as it is now. Geyman takes us on a tour through the history of private coverage, showing how the original Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans were about spreading risk across a broad pool and keeping coverage affordable. As commercial carriers came into the market, they brought with them "medical underwriting" which looks at applicants in terms of how much they might cost the company. For-profit companies structured their coverage to minimize their risk (by denying coverage to those who need it the most) and maximize their profits. The Blues could not survive without doing the same thing. Today, most of the Blue Cross companies are for-profit, many having been acquired by one of the big players in health insurance.

While Congress has required employer-sponsored group insurance to take everyone in the group and charge them all the same rate, companies are free to deny coverage to people who apply on their own and to offer unaffordable rates to older, sicker people. Companies have a long list of risk factors that trigger a denial. Here's some reasons used by California insurers in 2006 to deny coverage: attention deficit disorder, breast implants, infertility, herpes, gender reassignment, migraines, miscarriage, bed-wetting, ringworm, varicose veins... and that's not all.

While these companies like to disparage government health care programs, they have been quick to profit from these same programs. The Bush administration didn't think it worthwhile to increase funding for SCHIP (the Children's Health Insurance program) but allowed private insurance to profit by offering "Medicare Advantage" policies to Medicare recipients and pay them more than the cost of original Medicare. The administration gave a windfall to the pharmaceutical industry through its so-called drug benefit; this is a boondoggle that is totally structured to "benefit" only the insurance industry and the drug companies. Insurance companies have also been allowed into Medicaid, which is administered by the states, and, though it is supposed to cover health care for the poor, often has such a low threshhold that few qualify (and when they qualify, they have to constantly requalify).

It is partly this rush to profit from government programs that leads Geyman to his conclusion that the health insurance industry is dying. With Americans demanding reform, the current health insurance industry has two enormous costs that are not present in publicly-funded coverage: The huge profits they take out and their lower efficiency.

AVOIDING "MEDICAL LOSS"
Health insurance companies regard the payments they make for subscribers' health care as "medical loss." Most try to keep this "loss" at under 80% (meaning they keep 20% of premium payment for administration and profit). The largest health insurance companies have been hugely profitable for their shareholders.

Private insurance is massively less efficient than public insurance because of the large workforce needed to do underwriting, claims processing and denials. Between 2000 and 2005, despite a drop in the number of people with private insurance, their workforce grew by one third. How can this industry possibly bring down the cost of health care and provide affordable coverage? They can't. Geyman explains that the industry "is pricing itself beyond the reach of a declining private market, even as it seeks out a broader, subsidized role in public programs."

WHAT VALUE?
Geyman discusses something not mentioned by supporters of reform involving keeping private insurance, and that is the fact that they are allowed to offer so-called "insurance" that is so skimpy it really provides no protection. Many are marketing "Limited Benefit Policies" (LBP) to younger and lower-paid workers. A major health insurer caps hospital benefits at $2000 and accident/ER benefits at $1000. I know from my own experience in an ER a few years ago that bills are typically much higher than that (mine was around $2500 for 4 hours in the ER!). That $2000 hospital cap will barely pay for sheets and aspirin.

Interestingly, Geyman also mentions "Medigap" plans as low value. My husband turned 65 one year ago and we studied the government Medicare website to get information on these plans. I was delighted to find that these plans are regulated according to what's covered and identified by letter (plan A, plan B, etc). We looked at all of them, got costs from different companies and looked at my husband's usual use of medical services and concluded that these plans were not a good deal. Over the long run, we would be better off paying out of pocket costs not covered by Medicare. We concluded the same thing about the so-called drug benefit. None of the plans were cheaper than just paying for the relatively inexpensive medications my husband takes.

Geyman explores the various incremental reforms that have been tried and shows how none have solved the problem. During the 2008 presidential campaign, we heard about "mandates" that, along with community rating (charging everyone the same rate) and guaranteed issue (having to take all who appy), was supposed to insure everyone and bring down costs. But employer mandates are ineffective because of the inherent weaknesses and unfairness in a system relying on employer-sponsored insurance. The "individual mandate" as implemented in Massachusetts has proved unworkable as well, as the state agency (the Connector) tasked with making sure everyone has coverage has exempted thousands of people from the fines because they cannot offer these people any coverage they can actually afford.

The idea that insurance companies will "compete for your business" is an absurdity, given the priorities of health insurance companies (low "medical loss" and high profits for shareholders). Geyman states the problem clearly:

"...private insurers don't compete with each other by delivering better care at lower cost. That would be in line with what is understood as a classical form of competition where the consumer comes out on top. Insurance competition is different: Who can avoid the most enrollees with higher medical costs, and who is most effective at delaying or denying payment when they can?"

READ THIS BOOK!
This book was written before the financial meltdown and the election of President Obama, but Geyman mentions the possibility of serious recession a number of times in the book. Geyman has done his homework. Every chapter has a huge bibliography, with all sources listed. The book is full of charts and tables. Geyman is not just expressing his own negative opinion of the industry, but writes from facts. I highly recommend this book as the best exposition of why private insurance cannot get us to universal, affordable health care.
Usanner
From the moment you take this out of the package, you can tell this was not published by a reputable, mainstream company.

Many books on this subject (our health insurance industry) have a bias, but this book reads more like an angry op-ed piece than a well-written piece of non-fiction.

Sadly, the result is that even the researched facts become tainted with opinion, effectively destroying the credibility of the material.

Instead, look for T. R. Reid's "The Healing of America."
Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry is Dying, and How We Must Replace It download epub
Insurance
Author: M.D. John Geyman
ISBN: 1567513964
Category: Business & Money
Subcategory: Insurance
Language: English
Publisher: Common Courage Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2009)
Pages: 352 pages