A Curious Notion: What is Insurance For?

An Op-Ed by Meheshnehawn Carswell

Hello Readers, I have been observing the Supreme Court as a focus of national coverage this past week.  These observations cause me to bring forth a Curious Notion that I have been harboring as a question in the back of my mind for some time. That question is: What is insurance for?

I understand the basic concept of insurance. I can go a long way to understanding the need for most of the various types like surety and bonding and the like. I can even fathom insuring entertainer’s “assets” or an athlete’s hair but, my difficulties tend to be more along the lines of “life”, which seems to really mean health care and burial insurance which is another matter all together.  I’ll discuss that in a future edition. For the purpose of this notion I’m questioning political influence and health care service distribution.

Being somewhat progressive from time to time, I have developed a bit of disdain toward the profile of the insurance industry in America and I have had some very specific and perhaps some controversial feelings toward the “insuring” of life in the twenty first century, especially when paying the bills. In the interest of full disclosure I am aU.S.veteran and I have used the federal VA system with few complaints.

I have learned over the last fifty years to develop a great deal of skepticism towards anything that makes a great deal of cash, has unfettered access to ones most personal information and makes critical decisions unilaterally with great affect on people’s lives, and relatively no accountability, like banks and the insurance industry. That does not even begin to scratch the surface of their ever expanding aspects of control and political influence lately. This influence extends over governments both state and federal. It extends over your industry and therefore your job. It extends over your environment and thus your family and, over you.

If it is a fact, that there are five lobbyists inWashingtonD.C.for every congressman, out of two-thousand six hundred seventy-five, how many do you think represent the insurance industry? If, there are that many trying to affect federal legislation, how many do you believe are trying to do the same or more at the state level?

I’d like to take a momentary aside from those scary thoughts, to pose this question. Who is the most affected by a change in government policy concerning public health? Hmmmm, I just wonder!

To the best of my recollection of American history it was the insurance industry that financed the colonization of the “new world”. It was the same insurance industry that fostered “indentured servitude” a form of forced labor, that would be anathema to the ideals of the futureUnited States of Americaas it would be formed in 1787. These same “surety companies” helped to foster the wholesale importation of Negro slaves for hundreds of years, and was successful in hiding their involvement and thus the rightly deserved stigma.

It is pretty widely suspected by most folks that I talk to, that due to the large amounts of revenue generated by this industry, it has been, manipulating elected officials, exerting political influence and controlling various public agendas nationwide for quite a long while. Come to think of it, compulsory use of insurance has been law in various other industries and endeavors, like driving a car or obtaining a mortgage for years. Who else gets breaks like that?

Now, some two hundred plus years later this same industry has made the biggest efforts to restrain, mislead and defeat a present initiative for improvements in the public health care delivery system. This has been an ongoing struggle in one form or another in this country since Teddy Roosevelt was president over a hundred years ago. This industry and its interest vigorously opposed both Social Security and Medicaid also when they were proposed in the past.

Let’s just take a glance at the money without statistics. We know that hedge funds make a great deal of money. Without knowing exactly which ones, I’m willing to bet that every successful hedge fund has a major component that is an insurance industry interest. I’ll also wager that the insurance industry contributions have a pronounced effect in any close election involving some of their political allies. Also, let us not forget that one of the most questionable “bail outs” under the TARP provisions went to a little known company named AIG, to the tune of hundreds of billions, of your, tax payer dollars. I’ll also go you one better and surmise that the insurance industry lobby had a major impact on the infamous “citizens united” decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. If you are keeping track of what I am saying here, that is two out of three branches of your supposedly “representative” government, directly effected by one industry. This would lead one to believe, that the insurance industry has been behind or had major negative effects all through American history and currently. Hmm!

Now please don’t get me wrong; I am not a communist, nor am I against making great sums of money but, as we all know money, power and influence are often tied together in negative and unproductive ways and that it is not beyond the powers of moneyed interest to profoundly attempt to interdict things and people that get in their way. These actions can be quite punitive in nature and although the consequences may have been unintended the effects are still negative nonetheless. Take doctors for an example. Malpractice insurance, as I understand it, is to protect a medical practice when a consequential error of some kind is made, yet, because of the rising cost of premiums some areas now, have limited or no medical providers for specific needs like OB/GYN but, if you listen to the allies of the insurance industry it’s all about tort reform and lawsuit abuse. I wonder who that helps, Hmmmm!

In addition to this somewhat nauseating mix of thoughts, add in that the federal government did a really poor job of explaining what is going on in the “affordable care act” and, who is affected by it. Why do we have all of this uproar and tumult over a law that is not in full effect until 2016? That, to me means that neither the benefits nor the effects have been felt or realized in any but the smallest of ways yet.

If one can follow the connections that I’m seeing, one might ask; what’s the point. To that I’d say, consider these three points;

1.) All of the other leading industrialized nations have cheaper healthcare with better outcomes than theUnited States.

2.) There are large segments of theU.S.population that already receive government controlled “single payer” health care that are not subject to either market forces or litigation.

3.)  The “individual mandate” actually only effects those that do not have policies currently in force.

If the administration was truly wise in going after exploding health care cost as part of repairing an ailing economy and attempting to help small business. Then let us all take a pause to encompass whether the true effects actually help to solve the long term problem and or actually have effects that create real benefit to the greater society at large, as opposed to listening to confusingly manufactured noise from a traditionally manipulating group of mysteriously profitable and protected interest.

2 Responses to “A Curious Notion: What is Insurance For?”
  1. I will take a note of your weblog and check back here frequently.


  2. Ernie says:

    This post is invaluable. Where can I find out more?||Highly descriptive post, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?||Ridiculous story there. What happened after? Take care!||Do you have any video of that? I’d love to find out some additional information.||Peculiar article, just what I wanted to find.


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