Like most people in America, I have been following the raging debate regarding healthcare reform. And as a marketer, I have been absolutely floored by the universally poor job both sides have been doing in articulating their game plans. Except for one camp. We should all give the insurance giants, and the pharmaceutical industry a big hand in how effectively they have positioned their businesses to profit regardless of the outcome.
You know something is fishy when big business is FOR reform. This is the first shell in the shell game. What does this so called reform mean for them?
Obama recently did a back room deal with the The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which promises to keep drug prices high, in spite of the $80 billion they say they will hand over. And concurrently, Congress moves to extend the patent protection on pharma to 12 years, since they say they can’t make a profit with five years of brand name exclusivity. Top that with the elimination of even a hint of price negotiations for Medicare and Medicaid, and you have Big Pharma laughing all the way to the bank.
America, you just got screwed by your president.
Now, move on to the issue of the uninsured. This is a valid problem in America, and it is getting worse. With over 6 million Americans out of work in the past year, it is turning into a huge problem. But part of the real story, just under the surface, is that many of the same folks now uninsured, will be crushed with medical bills that will drive them to wipe out savings, lose homes, and erode the promise of the American Dream.
For the truly uninsured, they are now contributing a full one fifth of all ER visits, and the strain on our Federal coffers, as hospitals receive partial reimbursement from Uncle Sam.
But how many of those “one fifth” are undocumented aliens? In 2006, there were 120 million ER visits.
You have to understand a key difference between an ER visit for an uninsured American, and an undocumented alien. The American ER patient may still be liable for the bill, and as such, could go financially under. The undocumented alien, on the other hand, has their ER visit, as well as follow on care, paid for by the Federal government, via Program 93.784 Federal Reimbursement Of Emergency Health Services Furnished To Undocumented Aliens. Hospitals love this program.
America, you just got screwed again.
And the so called nonprofit hospitials (another follow on blog) love it even more.
Now, why would the big healthcare insurance providers like Wellpoint be all over Obama’s grand plan for reform? One reason is that they see a huge increase in the number of customers, since every American will be required to have insurance, and that single payer notion wil be killed before it is born. Do the math. Even with changes to pre-existing condition policies and rescissions, the insurnace companies will clean house.
Now I get to what I think is most important to most Americans, the ones with some insurance. We need insurance (or whatever) that is affordable, can’t be revoked because you or a family member gets really, really sick, and protects us from huge bills that take away our homes, our savings, and indeed, our lives.
So keep up those antics on both sides, America. Democrats, Republicans, and all in between, rant and rave all you want. Because the folks in power will come out of this smelling like a rose. Unless you start ranting about the real healthcare demons that keep us down.