Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Insider Speaks Out

This is the kind of thing we can only hope for... an insider becomes disgusted with the culture of his group, leaves, and goes public with his/her observations and commentary. After visiting a free medical clinic in an impoverished area of Tennessee, Wendell Potter, a senior executive at giant US healthcare firm Cigna, resigned over the industry's anti-social behavior, and is now speaking to Congress regarding the reform movement.
For Potter it was a dreadful realisation that healthcare in America had failed millions of poor, sick people and that he, and the industry he worked for, did not care about the human cost of their relentless search for profits. "It was over-powering. It was just more than I could possibly have imagined could be happening in America," he told the Observer

Potter resigned shortly afterwards. Last month he testified in Congress, becoming one of the few industry executives to admit that what its critics say is true: healthcare insurance firms push up costs, buy politicians and refuse to pay out when many patients actually get sick. In chilling words he told a Senate committee: "I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick: all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors."
In this article from The Guardian, Potter confirms, from an insider's perspective, everthing we already know about the "health care" industry.

In other health-related reading, Paul Krugman has an interesting piece on his blog regarding the economically idiosyncratic nature of health care:
All of this doesn’t necessarily mean that socialized medicine, or even single-payer, is the only way to go. There are a number of successful health-care systems, at least as measured by pretty good care much cheaper than here, and they are quite different from each other. There are, however, no examples of successful health care based on the principles of the free market, for one simple reason: in health care, the free market just doesn’t work. And people who say that the market is the answer are flying in the face of both theory and overwhelming evidence.
That's the concluding paragraph, but the rest is well worth the few minutes it takes to read.

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