Take health care out of the hands of insurance companies NOW

We are getting robbed. And murdered even. Right now the biggest profiteers off the pandemic are…the insurance companies.

How can this be? They have to pay off all those death and illness claims! Easy. They’re already raising their rates for premiums. So you might be out of work, your employer might be struggling to keep up, but surprise — next year your insurance costs are going to skyrocket.

Don’t worry, you still have a “choice” of which company to pay for the right to mug you.


  1. davidc1 says

    Yeah ,and an American health care system is what the bastard tory party would like to introduce to the UK ,bastards ,bastards ,bastards .

  2. kome says

    Conservatives should never be in charge of anything more important than a broken pencil sharpener, because this is what we get. Collapsing civilization because it turns out nature doesn’t care one whit about things like money or the economy or quarterly profit margins, but conservatives demand that reality worship at the altar of mammon upon which conservatives offer up the rest of us as regular burnt offerings.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    Cue the usual centrist/capitalist commentators to lecture us how unrealistic implementing an American UHC system would be and we should just be grateful for St. Barrack’s ACA.

  4. Sean Boyd says

    Wendell Potter has been telling this story since before the ACA was passed (I recall seeing him on Rachel Maddow more that once.) IIRC, he predicted that insurance companies would find a way to make shittons of money off the ACA, and wanted a public option included to control for that. It wasn’t, and they did. It is very frustrating to see the transparency of their greed, and not only be mostly powerless to change it, but to even convince others that it’s there.

  5. says

    Meanwhile in Alberta, our conservative provincial government rammed through a budget that included cuts to our health care system around about when this crisis was still in its early days but we were very much aware was going to get worse. If you in the States are able to get universal healthcare passed and past the right-wing SCOTUS, it’ll be very important to never let the Republicans get power ever again. They’re going to want to kill it right away instead of the slow starvation that conservative governments elsewhere have to do with the very popular program, or that they are forced to do with Social Security and Medicare.

  6. Bruce H says

    @Kome – Conservatives can’t be trusted to fix so much as pencil sharpener. If you can’t or don’t want to pay what they ask, well, you can go sharpen your pencil on a rock.

  7. says

    And the country will rise up and say “It is what it is, whaddya gonna do?’ and then sit back down again. We’ve been well-trained in the art of cynical defeatism.

  8. anarchobyron says

    Gee, if only a once and a life time candidate, who had been advocating for medicare for all for HALF A CENTURY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! was running for president. Alas all we had to choose from was Warren, Biden and Pete.

    Oh wait…

  9. blf says

    US private health insurance companies clog system amid Covid-19 pandemic:

    Patients left waiting in beds until private insurance companies authorize next steps, which can take days

    As Augie Lindmark, a resident physician at Yale University prepared for an onslaught of Covid-19 patients last week, he noticed something at his hospital: there were still patients without the virus, completely stable, in the beds.

    These patients, many of whom should have been moved to a rehab facility or released, were stuck waiting until their private health insurance company authorized the next steps, which can take days.

    Usually, the prior authorization process is an expected inefficiency at Yale, and most other American hospitals. But with thousands of Covid-19 patients being admitted every day across the country, and a critical shortage of hospital beds, that red tape now carries much more weight.

    “Any sort of slowing in the health system has dire consequences,” Lindmark said.

    […] Physicians have largely sought to reschedule and cancel elective surgeries and other patient visits deemed non-essential to free up resources to handle the virus.

    But with a history of restrictive and confusing policies, private health insurance companies have lagged behind: making incremental changes to plans even as health providers seek to change course.


    Riddhi Shah, the director of operations at a mental health clinic in Michigan, said insurance companies are hard to contact right now, and while the plans have dropped the prior authorization restrictions, the clinic still has to navigate new billing codes and financial loss.


    A spokesperson at Humana, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, told the Guardian it is not charging patients for Covid-19 testing, and a representative of the Association of Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) pointed to a letter signed by various private payers about their commitment to fighting Covid-19. This is partly because the federal government is requiring the plans to cover all visits, virtual and not, related to testing, said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research and advocacy firm, who tracks the private market.

    But that hasn’t stopped insurers from charging patients for other Covid-related charges. AHIP confirmed that out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment would not be waived, and could cost patients thousands of dollars. The average amount for someone admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, a respiratory condition that many coronavirus patients are facing, was $20,000 in 2018 for patients covered by private insurance, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Peterson.


    “Insurance companies are not beholden to the patient, they are beholden to the shareholder,” [emergency medicine physician and associate dean at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia Dr Judd] Hollander said.

    Much of the redacted parts in the above excerpt are about the astonishingly poor & slow adaption of telemedicine by the insurance companiesghouls.

  10. says

    The state of California has quietly reported that it expects private insurance premiums to jump 40% next year because of the coronavirus. That is, of course, entirely okay under the ACA, because the ACA caps the percentage of profit but not the size of the premium, meaning that insurance companies seeking higher returns can simply increase their payouts to doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals (or offer new “services”) and charge accordingly to raise their own profits. This is what happened in Massachusetts, the state which had actually implemented the bill the ACA was based on, so any claim that this was an unforeseen loophole is clearly a lie.

    Biden, of course, wants to “restore” the ACA to specifically avoid universal care and/or single-payer. If he really gets the nomination — and he still doesn’t have enough delegates yet — we’re all screwed.

  11. Trickster Goddess says

    If the health insurance companies do actually end up losing money due to the pandemic, they will probably be begging for a government bailout. Heck, they’ll probably ask for a bailout either way.

  12. says

    And I thought I was cynical.
    Seriously though, for profit health insurance makes absolutely no god damned sense.
    Moving forward, I say we make all “private” health insurance non profit. Profit and greed have no place in public health.

  13. unclefrogy says

    the problem with conservatives and the feelings and attitude which for the root is conservatives resist change as they see it “make america great again” is a slogan looking at the past. they cling to the past, to tradition, to the way it was. Traditional values!
    the problem is the world that exists does not cling to anything and continues to reform with variations of patterns.
    Things change continuously, any ideology or being that can not adopt to changing reality will not do well.
    instead of accepting this reality they either deny it or blame some evil force be it human or supper natural as trying to destroy them.
    denial of the reality of the health care need and its real cost and how markets actually work plus a fair amount of self serving greed has led us to this position
    uncle frogy

  14. says

    @#15, Ray Ceeya:

    How about this one, then: for years, every cruise line operating in the US has deliberately headquartered/sailed out of other countries — Disney Cruises in the Bahamas, Celebrity Cruises under Liberia/Malta, and Carnival Cruises in Panama — specifically to avoid US tax, hygiene, and unemployment law, and now they’re uniformly applying to the US for bailouts.

  15. brightmoon says

    @ Kome “…..it is true that most stupid people are conservatives. Part of a JS Mill quote

  16. chrislawson says


    Not to defend pharmacos, but this is not a failing of theirs. It was never going to be a profitable enterprise, which means it should not fall to profit-driven entities to resolve it. This is the sort of project that 100% should have been driven by government. The reason that didn’t happen is because we’re living in the shadow of 40 years of vampiric plutocracy.

  17. Marissa van Eck says

    So, serious question: when do we start burning these people alive or otherwise taking the law into our own hands? Our government has abandoned us, arguably in Clinton’s second term. Laws and lawmakers are for sale. The true horror of this crisis for the poorest of us–homeless, for example–is almost completely unknown and unshown, and most people who do know about it don’t seem to care.

    It would not surprise me if the GOP-lead Senate and the White House were deliberately making it difficult for New York to get supplies, thinking “Good, that’s the center of ‘liberal’ politics and voters, to hell with all of them.’ When does this end?

  18. blf says

    Marissa van Eck@21, The loonies on teh far right are already trying to exploit the situation by, rather literally, causing a genoicide. See poopyhead’s current [Pandemic and] Political Madness All The Time thread here at FtB. An excerpt of that excerpt (taken from As world struggles to stop deaths, far right celebrates COVID-19 (Al Jazeera edits in {curly braces})):

    Some hardliners want to use the virus as a weapon to kill minorities, as others spread further hate and conspiracy.


    The hardest-core “accelerationists” — violent neo-Nazis who want civilisation to crumble, hope that COVID-19 will turn out to be their secret weapon.


    A leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), a neo-Nazi movement based in northern Europe, said that he welcomed the pandemic as a necessary step to help create the world that his group wants to see.

    {COVID-19} might be precisely what we need in order to bring about a real national uprising and a strengthening of revolutionary political forces, Simon Lindberg, the leader of NRM’s Swedish branch, wrote on the movement’s website.

    We cannot build a society lasting thousands of years into the future on the rotten foundations of today, Lindberg added, {but} instead we must build it upon the ruins of their creation.


    “Neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram [an on-line messaging app which allows violent content & is easily accessible –blf] channels have increased their calls for destabilisation and violence related to COVID-19,” Joshua Fisher-Birch, a researcher from the United States-based Counter Extremism Project, which monitors international “extremist” movements, told Al Jazeera.

    “These channels are treating the current situation … as an opportunity to try to increase tension and advocate for violence.”


    One popular neo-Nazi channel urged its members to cough on doorknobs at synagogues. Another urged followers infected with COVID-19 to spray their saliva on police officers.


    Timothy Wilson — who the FBI shot — and who was allegedly planning to attack a Covid-19 hospital with a (truck?) bomb, “was an administrator of a neo-Nazi Telegram channel known for encouraging violence.”