The Health Insurance Industry Doesn't Deserve Our Trust

Farmers often depend on off farm jobs to provide health insurance, if
that wasn't an option they could generally afford an individual plan.
Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in America, heavy
machinery, large animals, long hours in the sun, chemicals and that
always present independent streak that keeps us from seeing the doctor
when we should. Still, we need insurance.

Most jobs are cutting insurance benefits, if the jobs are still there.
Individual plans for farmers are expensive with high deductibles since
our work is dangerous, we probably have pre-existing conditions and we
are nearing an average age of 58 years.

The Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska notes that rural residents are
twice as likely to be uninsured as urban Americans while farmers and
ranchers are four times as likely to be "underinsured", covered by
insurance with reduced benefits and a high deductibles.

Montana Senator Max Baucus says single payer health care " is off the
table". Who made him king? What are we, chopped liver, doesn't our
opinion count? A January CBS/New York Times poll showed 59% of
respondents favored a national health care plan. A February CNN poll
showed 72% favored a government controlled plan. Any issue with that
much across the board support should be "on the table".

It seems especially surprising that Baucus, from Montana, a rural
state, one that would benefit most from a single payer plan, is opposed
to any discussion. However if one looks at campaign contributions from the health insurance industry to Baucus, we see why he supports the status quo.

The insurance companies, in hopes of killing single payer, say they are
willing to cover those with "pre-existing conditions" provided "everyone" buys their health insurance. The the insurance companies
dream, every American with an insurance policy and private insurers
collecting premiums on another 49 million people. Of course they can
still deny payment of claims, they're good at that.

But they say trust us, we will cut costs, as long as everyone buys a
policy from us; but, there will be no competition from a public option.

No competition? Workers and farmers are expected to compete in the
world market but insurance companies are afraid to compete against a
public option?

Trust us? Trust insurance companies to care about our health over their profits?

According to the New England Journal of Medicine,
insurance companies own billions of dollars of tobacco industry stock.
Clearly, their motive is profit, not the best interest of the American

While health insurance companies downplay their tobacco investments as
being only a small percentage of their total investment portfolio, with
billions invested in tobacco, one wonders how much money do these guys
have, where did they get it and why won't they pay it to their policy
holders when they deserve it?

While New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigates
industry wide rate manipulation in the health insurance industry, they
say trust us. Trust an industry that employs an "army of claim deniers"
and administrative personnel whose numbers have grown 25 times faster
than the number of physicians in the US over the past 30 years?

They expect us to believe they care about the health of the 49 million
uninsured Americans or the 53,000 that die yearly due to denied claims?

A "public option" should be an option, just as public education,
transportation, and legal protection are available, but not required.

Some of my neighbors, like many Americans, lack confidence in the
governments ability to administer a public health insurance plan. But
they are beginning to trust private insurance companies even less. So
to legislators who say the public option is off the table, think again,
there are 49 million uninsured and 25 million underinsured in America, we may lack health insurance but we can still vote.

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