In today’s Senate Finance Committee debate about health care reform, Senator Charles Schumer has identified the profit motive that drives private insurance companies as the source of the rationing of medical care that millions of Americans currently suffer from. Schumer said,
“It’s a different model because profit doesn’t come first… The natural inclination of the insurance company is going to be to say, ‘Okay, this is very expensive. We better check to see if this is really covered in their policy.’ They may find, through some negligence or some oversight, that it is not, and they say, ‘Hey, we don’t have an obligation here.’ The inclination of the public option would not be to do that, again, because profit is not hanging over their head.”
Private insurance companies currently exist primarily as machines of profit for their investors. The government is different from that. The government exists to serve us, the citizens it represents. When the government does not serve us well, it’s because we citizens are not working with enough determination to hold it accountable. When private insurance companies do not serve us well, it’s because they’re fulfilling their missions to find a way to profit from our illnesses.