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Maybe it’s time to wave goodbye to for-profit insurers

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Some commercial insurers are exiting the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, complaining they can’t make enough money on them, But they had ¬†better watch out, writes Caroline Poplin, M.D., in MedPage Today. Their exit may make a lot more people wonder why we need ¬†commercial insurers {and their vast cost to the public} at all. She writes at the end of her piece:

“Commercial insurance works by charging individuals enough to cover their risk (with something left over for profit). High-risk people often cannot buy insurance at all. No one sells ordinary flood insurance to homeowners in a flood plain. We have Medicare for elderly and disabled people because they couldn’t get private health insurance. Insurers want to keep their healthy customers, and let someone else — high-risk pools, charity, the government — take care of anyone who gets sick.

“But remember this: health insurance is not healthcare. Insurers are simply middlemen: if they disappeared — or were paid simply to track claims — and replaced by a Medicare-for-all system, everyone could still access healthcare. It is not clear that the value added by the industry is worth the cost, estimated at $350 billion¬†{a year}. Spending that money directly on healthcare could improve our health, and eliminating public subsides to private insurers would reduce the deficit.

“Insurers who are dissatisfied with the ACA: Be careful what you wish for.”

To read her entire essay, please hit this link.

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