Health Insurance Exec Admits Her Industry Rations Care: "We Believe In Controlling Utilization"

by: David Sirota

Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 08:09


In a New York Times story today about health insurance executives and their employees complaining about criticism of the health insurance industry, one executive acknowledges that the industry is all about rationing care:

"I believe we're getting the pushback because we are standing up for what we believe in," said Cheryl Tidwell, 45, Humana's director of commercial sales training. "We believe there's a better way to control costs by controlling utilization and getting people involved in their health care."

Now, I know we're supposed to think that private for-profit health care companies don't ration care, while government-run programs like Medicare do - but as the insurance industry admits right here for all to see, that's just not the case. The obvious truth is that the health insurance industry works hard to "control utilization" - that is, it works hard to make sure that when you need a costly medical service, you are "controlled" (read: prevented) from getting it.

Sure, we're all against excessive testing - and there are good ways to deal with those inefficiencies. But that's not what the insurance industry is talking about. It is talking about its practice of rationing care - and now that reality is right there in black and white for all to see.

David Sirota :: Health Insurance Exec Admits Her Industry Rations Care: "We Believe In Controlling Utilization"

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Feeling Optimistic This Morning.... (4.00 / 2)
David, thanks for all your good work.

Jeezuz, I love the Intertubes.  The blogosphere is abuzz with information and opinion and piss and vinegar, and the healthcare industry and the Blue Dogs and the corporate shills are squirming.  Thinking back just a few years to the pre-Internet era, I don't know how we survived.  Letters to the editor were about the only thing we had going on.  As frustrated as we might feel sometimes, the ground is shifting, and we're gaining on the bastards.


I hope so.... (0.00 / 0)
I'm seeing a lot of people on our side giving up...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
"Utilization Controller" vs "Death Panel" (0.00 / 0)
Doesn't quite have the same sizzle.

Hard to imagine that some many folks try so hard not to point out that the current system, the one the ConservoDems and GOPpers are fighting to maintain with the status quo, actually features rationing enacted by "death panels". I mean what else does one call a group of administrators that organizes to deny claims? The "Lollipop Guild"?

The whole "rationing" issue is an illusion. All healthcare systems ration care and services, the real question is whether the rationing is done fairly and objectively, rather than based on income and employment status.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


Panels Are Wasteful (4.00 / 3)
The private enterprise system has only one person decide.  Much more efficient than a whole panel of faceless bureaucrats.  Why the cost alone of removing their faces...

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I think shaving the panels to one person (4.00 / 1)
is part of the "cost-saving" reforms proposed by the right wingers and corporoDems.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
LOL @ LOLlipop guild (0.00 / 0)
Raaar! Government bureaucrats bad! But private sector bureaucrats good!

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers


[ Parent ]
worth reading (0.00 / 0)
Froma Harrop of the Providence Journal on the "death panel" United Healthcare subjected her husband to when he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

also from the times article (0.00 / 0)
Quoting another bishop "any legislation that undermines the utility of the private sector is suspect." Doesen't any and all change have to undermine the utility of the private sector to accomplish reform? I mean even if the insurance companies were left intact and given new mandated market share, wouldn't the need to restrain uncontrolled profiteering be even more important than now? In the land of corporations run amok, even religous leaders are deluded, and blatently ignore the 20,000 or so deaths caused each year by our for profit (off misery and grief) system.

Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob..... FDR

Another way insurers ration care (4.00 / 1)
is by selling lower-cost policies that include spending ceilings in the policy language that appear to be quite reasonable to the consumer but in reality place more risk on people who become ill or have bad stuff happen to them. Insurance companies that prey on the self-employed and small businesses are especially adept at this type of rip-off. As long as you're healthy, you're fine with paying the low premium and you're convinced that your insurance is good because you get the lower service costs of a preferred network. But the moment that something really significant happens to you, it can be bankrupt city.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

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