Magazine article Multinational Monitor

Profit Fever: The Drive to Corporatize Health Care and How to Stop It

Magazine article Multinational Monitor

Profit Fever: The Drive to Corporatize Health Care and How to Stop It

Article excerpt

By Charles Andrews Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995 160 pages. $11.95

The future of private health insurance, according to Charles Andrews, is bleak. If events continue on their current trajectory, the richest U.S. citizens will receive good care and be fully insured, while health care for the vast majority of citizens will worsen and cost more.

In developing this analysis, Profit Fever focuses on problems faced even by insured workers employed at some of the nation's largest and most profitable companies.

As health maintenance organizations try to squeeze more productivity out of doctors, patient visits are cut short, sometimes to no more than seven minutes per ill worker. Some workers cannot even get those seven minutes; some employees at General Electric, for example, cannot make a doctor's appointment without company approval, Andrews writes.

At Coors, employees receive slightly lower health insurance bills if they fill out an extensive family health history form. But the company can then use the information to avoid paying subsequent health claims.

But this book is more than a study of how leaving control of health insurance to private industry is not working. The book also demonstrates how the political system is not working either when it comes to public health.

Andrews is no fan of the Clinton health care plan, which died amid Capitol Hill wrangling two years ago. He advocates a single-payer system of government-funded health insurance, in which access to health care is a right, and not limited only to those with either the means or the insurance. …

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