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Commentary :: Social Welfare
Compulsory Patronage of Private Insurance?
27 Jun 2007
Modified: 01:42:44 PM
Forced patronage of private businesses seems to be a violation of Free Speech rights, for starters. It also compels citizens to provide investment funds to Health Damaging industries.
In 2000, Physicians for a National Health Program doctors published, in JAMA and The Lancet, articles about top Health Insurers' investments in Cigarette Manufacturers.


Here is an excerpt:
" Insurers' tobacco holdings include:
Cigna, the giant HMO firm, owns over $38 million in Philip Morris stocks and $4 million in Loews stocks.
MetLife's stockholdings total $55 million in Philip Morris and almost $7 million in Loews.
Prudential Insurance owns $435 million of Philip Morris, nearly $320 million of Loews stock, and $137 million of RJ Reynolds "

Why Michael Moore didn't mention this grossly unacceptable link in "Sicko" is a question. How much do insurers invest today?

Big Insurance is THE largest investment bloc on Wall Street. We need to ask where ELSE does this industry invest what was ostensibly our health care money? It is possible to find out at the SEC's EDGAR database, but that is a difficult site to navigate. But, this needs to be done so that the people of Massachusetts know where they are forced to send their money.

Perhaps legislation can be demanded to require Insurers to reveal all industrial insurance and investment links. This is a Right to Know issue.

The conflicts of interest caused by this insurer/investment linkage are entirely at odds with the Public Interest.
If an insurer is heavilly invested in, say, chlorine and pesticides, that insurer has motive and even Corporate Duty to shareholders to do all possible to ignore or under-play the health harms caused by those investment properties.
The motive/duty is there to mis-diagnose illnesses, to therefore fail to properly treat the illnesses, to blame other things for a disease, and to fail to advise patients about benign alternatives.

We have this happening, perhaps the worst way, in the "smoking" situation where the insurers named above, and likely all the others, join in blamng A) public domain tobacco plants, B) the unwitting people who think and are told it's just tobacco, and C) bar owners and the like.
The idea of actually STUDYING a typical cigarette regarding its high levels of pesticide residues, the chlorine pesticides and bleached paper, the resultant dioxin in the smoke, the radiation from certain fertilizers, the many other toxic/cancer-causing non-tobacco adulterants etc is not on the table. To do THAT would seriously harm an insurer's investments in a cigarette manufacturer AND in the pesticide etc firms that supply the chemicals and other substances.

If an insurer also happens to be invested in Pharmaceuticals, the motive and duty is huge for an insurer to promote their own drugs over others that may be cheaper, safer, and more effective. The motive is also huge for such an insurer to overlook, or not even look for, harms from drugs it may be invested in. Such an insurer, and affiliates, would be quite unlikely to promote alternative medicine. Such an insurer would be Most Unlikely to mention or look for harms to patients caused by tobacco pesticides manufactured by its own, or any, pharmaceutical property. What hospitals under the wing of such insurers tests patients for body burdens of those industrial chemicals or even dioxin?

See: for list of tobacco pesticides and known manufacturers. Big Pharm is a major part of the cigarette industry...though it pretends otherwise.

If an insurer exists that is not invested in, or an insurer of, a health-damaging industry, we have not been informed of that.

That we are compelled to patronize and provide pools of investment funds for industries that may be the very ones who harmed our health (and ought be PAYING for the care) is a cruel abominable injustice. Not one person in the state or anywhere would vote for such a situation...IF they knew about it. per Free Speech violations, according to the First Amendment, no one may be compelled to speak, except in extraordinary situations like Grand Juries or re/ child abuse, etc. Supporters of Compulsory Insurance Patronage say that this is just like with Auto Insurance. It is NOT. That insurance is only for drivers and, as they said in promoting that similar scam, "no one is compelled to drive".

However, with health care, they say, in effect, that no one is Compelled to live in the state, or that No One is Compelled to LIVE, period.
See also:

This work is in the public domain
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