In response to the article More insurers wanted by Mitch Goldman and Howard Wizig, I am wholeheartedly in disagreement. The HMO experiment in my eyes was a failure back in the 1980s, and its rebirth in a larger form than the atrophied remnant that remains would be equally disastrous. As a physician, I remember the startup of HMOs and the many entrepreneurial “doctors” scrambling to grab as much of the government money as they could. The care to the patients they “subscribed” was dismal.
HMO movement was disaster
I remember many patients telling me they had never seen their physician in the two or more years they were with the program. The program was to subscribe as many patients as possible, collect the maintenance money, and then do as little as possible. That is why the program failed. At the administrative side, there were many incompetent HMO “presidents” who absconded with millions and millions of dollars, i.e., the “gold plan.”
I remember the exorbitant salaries and lavish lifestyles other HMO chief executives garnered off the lives of their “insured.”
I am afraid that unregulated insurance will remain as it is now, a medical rip-off, with large portions of the insurance premiums, as much as 30% by some accounts, going to “administrative” costs. That sum is huge. Meanwhile, the insured are denied coverage, delayed coverage, or canceled if they get “too sick.” That's what insurance is for, to cover the sick with reasonable healthcare.
I am afraid the writers' idea is so poorly founded that I wonder if they are sincere or merely a paid voice box for some big-wig, fat-cat insurance lobbyist.
Sorry to be so blunt, but that's the way I remember it and see it,
Steven Schneider, M.D.Rockford, Ill.
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