Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Making Health Insurance Obsolete

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 9, 2012

Make no mistake about it, insurance companies exist to make money.

Regardless of their commercials, they neither care for you, grandma, babies, or puppy dogs… much less love you.

They love money.

In addition to raising premiums, one of the ways they make money is by not paying claims. And I mean to refer to them not paying legitimate claims by weaseling and fenagling out of paying claims such as by denying “pre-existing conditions,” or by making ludicrously asinine assertions, such as “you forgot to fill in line 39,” or something like “we didn’t receive your premium on time,” or something even worse – such as “we don’t insure on Thursdays from noon to 1:30PM.”

If money is a tool which can and ought to be used for the things it can do, then why is it important to maintain a hoard of of it? Tools are utilitarian things, which derive their exclusive value precisely because they are used, not capable of being used. Similarly, money only has value because it is a tool as a medium of exchange.

Insurance, like any other pecuniary enterprise, ought to be regulated precisely because of the risk for fraud is greater than in other businesses. That is, by nature it is more susceptible to deception. Deception in pecuniary enterprise is also known as “theft.”

Nevertheless…

Be certain you read on to learn

How a $1,000 test could destroy the health-insurance industry

Posted by at 02:07 PM ET, 03/08/2012
The New York Times reports that the cost of sequencing an individual genome will soon be less than $1,000. That’s not nothing, but given what most health care costs, it’s not much. And it means that an individual mandate— or something much like it — is inevitable.

(Photo by: Gerald Herbert - Associated Press)

(Photo by: Gerald Herbert - Associated Press)

In 2008, Congress overwhelmingly passed, and President George W. Bush signed, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Ron Paul was the lone dissenter. The legislation bars insurers from denying coverage or raising premiums on individuals who show a genetic predisposition toward particular diseases. And in doing, it armed a time bomb beneath the health-care industry.

At the moment, our understanding of the genome remains relatively crude, and our ability to predict future health risks based off of genomic sequencingis limited. But we’re getting better at it. For instance, women in families with a high rate of breast and ovarian cancer can have themselves tested for alterations in the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes. If they test positive, it means their risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer is significantly higher.As we sequence more genomes, mine more data, and conduct more studies, we’ll find a lot more of these connections. Eventually, genomic testing will be a powerful predictor of future illness. And it raises the potential that young people will get themselves tested and then purchase insurance based off the result. So those with a clean genomic result might go for a cheap catastrophic plan, while those with a high risk of developing pricey illnesses will opt for more comprehensive insurance.

The result would be, in insurance terms, an “adverse-selection death spiral,” as the healthy opt out of expensive insurance, the sick opt into it, and premiums spin out of control.

“For all of human history, humans have not had the readout of the software that makes them alive,” Larry Smarr, a member of the Complete Genomics scientific advisory board, told The New York Times. “Once you make the transition from a data poor to data rich environment, everything changes.”

The policy that solves this problem is an individual mandate, or Medicare-for-All, or some other approach that forces the healthy to insure themselves alongside the sick. In its absence, there’s no way to make a risk-selection model work for the health insurance industry, as consumers will be armed with detailed information about their health risks that insurers are legally prohibited from pricing into their insurance premiums.

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This article appears here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/how-a-1000-test-could-destroy-the-health-insurance-industry/2012/03/08/gIQA33KVzR_blog.html

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