Profit Panels

March 3rd, 2010

Inspired by The Simple Health Insurance Solution (Huffington Post 7/31/09), Medical-Loss Ratios? Go Ask Al. Seriously (Yahoo News 3/02/10), the five year old boy denied cancer treatment by his insurance company, and Keith Olbermann’s emotional commentary about his and his father’s experience with “death” panels (watch the videos below).

Insurance companies don’t really want to put people to death

(Killing your customers is both a corporate and moral sin).

They only do it when they have to

To increase their profit margin.

No matter how much money they make

They always want to make more.

That’s why they’ll continue to hike up rates

Higher than before.

But the insurance business’s biggest profit center

Is the managed care preventer.

It’s measured by the “medical loss ratio” indicator,

Which is the industry’s profitability dictator.

Every dollar the insurance company pays for care causes them pain.

They view it as a loss, but to us it’s a gain.

What the rest of us would view as their raison d’etre

Is just the cost of doing business to those who know better.

One almost feels sorry for those claims reviewers—

I’m sure they don’t enjoy sending people to their demise.

That’s why there’s a “review” process

To resort to when a reviewer a claim denies.

People assume it’s to protect the customer,

But that’s really not the case.

It’s to make insurance company staff feel better,

An approach quite commonplace.

It’s kind of like the firing squads of old

When the panel of shooters were told

That one of them had been given a blank

So each could tell himself he wasn’t for the death to thank.

The insurance industry’s medical loss ratio apparatus

Makes full use of a similar status.

So that their deadly decision despite

Those who make it can sleep at night.

And each individual slob

Is just doing his or her job

To add to the insurance company’s ROI

Even if it costs the life of a five year old boy.

It doesn’t matter whether you call it a panel of death or life.

Either way, it’s sure to cause a lot of personal and family strife.

But one factor that shouldn’t enter into the calculation

Is the insurance company’s profit maximization.

Otherwise, we’re taking the “care”

Out of the word healthcare.

The insurance industry did that long ago

When they targeted treatment as the first thing to go.

Medical loss ratios have dropped from 95% in the past to about 80% now,

Which means we’re getting a lot less care for our dollar (and how!).

Al Franken added a provision to the Senate legislation

Requiring a minimum of 85% (now that’s an affirmation).

So not only is that no death panel— it’s the opposite of one

(No wonder Republicans have tried to get it redone).

By protecting Big Health they allow

What they to fear avow.

But as I’ve said before, even if death panels had been included in the bill

(Which they aren’t, weren’t, and never will),

I’d prefer their rules be set by elected officials

Than by profit-seekers hiding behind insurance company initials.


Here’s Keith Olbermann’s 2/11/10 report about an insurance company death panel in action.

Here’s Keith Olbermann’s 3/01/10 comment about death (or as he referred to them, “life” panels – which assumes that the insurance company doesn’t interpose itself between the doctor and patient to make those life and death calls).

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For more information on the subject, check out the following in our Amazon store:

  1. Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry is Dying, and How We Must Replace It
  2. Health Insurance Industry Practices; Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and
  3. The Michael Moore documentary Sicko.

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