Who’s Profiting From Your Health?

Should your basic healthcare be non-profit? And is that even a major consideration? I mean, after all, isn’t “profit” a good

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motivation for a healthcare plan? This issue came to the forefront of a PBS documentary about healthcare around the world – and apparently got the person who made the documentary cut out of his own film. Head on over to Something Is Rotten At PBS and check out the story. So why would someone take so strong a stand on this issue – knowing that he would not only get cut out of his own film, but also probably lose all future work with Frontline? What’s so important about non-profit versus for-profit? Many of us are old enough to remember when most healthcare plans (including Kaiser) were not-for-profit. In fact, the government made these organizations pay huge penalties for the right to convert to “for-profit.”  Just to demonstrate the size of the penalty that insurance companies were willing to pay, this one-time fine is how many foundations were born (they were endowed by the penalty). When you can wrap your mind around the amount of cash a plan is willing to fork over to become “for-profit” – and then still be viable, that gives you some idea of how much healthcare money is taken out and pocketed each year by for-profit plans. Almost all of those mega-profits taken out of a healthplan are going to a small number of executives. Something to ponder in the swirling healthcare reform discussions…

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