Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sopranos Return for Another Season on HMO

The Healthcare Insurance Reform Cicadas have risen once again after 16 years of underground silence.

The “Cicada HCIR” has shown itself to be a loud and highly irritating insect indigenous to the U-S-of-A since debuting in the 1940’s when Harry S. Truman first cleared his throat with the annoying HCIR hum he’d picked up from his predecessor, Franklin D.

While insurance protection in every imaginable form is as old as mankind, it doesn’t appear that modern day legislative regulation of the insurance industry has really influenced the hard core, down and dirty facets of the business overly much. And the most recent “Cicada HCIR” cyclical uprising has once again directed special attention toward the health insurance sector of the industry.

With all eyes now focused on the deficiencies in American healthcare coverage, we just couldn’t resist one look in the rear view mirror to observe the approach of a black Lincoln Towncar with ebony tinted windows as it pulled along the curb and parked. The sedan’s doors opened in unison and two piece-packing, black suited professionals sporting dark sunglasses stepped out onto the sidewalk with a job to do. The gangster collection agents were out in force to squeeze payment from the neighborhood in exchange for protection.

Strong arm collection styles are understandably believed by most to be outright extortion.

Nevertheless, there was a time long ago when buying this kind of insurance protection really meant buying protection, and the organization collecting premiums from the locals usually stood behind its protection promises because it kept out the competition and granted monopolized dominion over very valuable turf. The ‘organizzazione familia’ naturally kept all premium payments collected as profit for there were no shareholders to share with, no underwriters, no exclusionary clauses for pre-existing conditions.

There’s little question that the neighborhood had been made an offer it couldn’t refuse. Paying up meant insurance coverage was in force. Payment not tendered when the hood collectors banked on having their palms greased resulted in premature end of life issues that were finished off with assertive euthanasia lacking in the customary compassion or compunction.

Like “The Godfather Insurance” days of yesteryear, there still remains an honor amongst thieves, and all honor goes to bottom line profits.

American health insurance policyholders have also been made an offer they can’t refuse, except there’s no one ensuring that the protections paid for and promised are actually being provided. Instead, top priority goes to substantially increasing shareholder profits which are dependent upon the number of claims not paid and policyholders being denied essential healthcare services.

If Al Capone had been running the health insurance racket for the last century, would the industry be any different today?

For other profitable turf masters, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ January 13, 2009 posting "What Comes in 3’s?"

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