Episode Information

WWL: Aetna on Health Care Reform
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
06/29/2009
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In this episode:

Aetna President Mark Bertolini on Aetna's ideas for fixing health care

 

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Episode Audio

49:02 minutes (23.54 MB)
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President Obama has met with insurance industry leaders as he moves forward with plans to overhaul the nation’s health system. Aetna says they have a plan of their own. Hartford based  Aetna is one of the nation’s insurance giants – and they have many reasons to keep the current system just the way it is. But they’ve put out a ten point plan that they say will transform health care in the U.S.

Aetna officials say they’re “engaged” in the legislative process underway in Washington. Today, Where We Live, Aetna President Mark Bertolini joins us to talk about the current state of the health care system, the role private insurance has had in getting us here – and where it can take us.

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Mandatory Health Insurance

At the beginning of the show, Mr. Bertolini compares Aetna's plan to car insurance policy.  His explains that the same way car insurance is mandatory, health insurance should be mandatory. I don't agree with this; car insurance is something that one can opt out of (almost) by not owning a car.  One cannot opt out of one's own health, or in essence "being alive."  Since once cannot opt out of health insurance, yet it is still provided by the big insurance companies, ins't Aetna's proposed plan simply a tax passed down from the private sector?  If health insurance is going to be mandatory, then there should be an option provided by the government.  

Listener Email from Sean

One of the most basic theories in economics is that one should increase efficiency by cutting out the middle man. For-profit health insurance companies provide no useful service, but withdraw an enormous amount of cash that should be going to doctors and hospitals and drug makers. Opinion polls show that nearly three quarters of all Americans want the federal government to offer a government-run Medicare-like plan available to all Americans. There is simply no excuse for paying 31 cents of every dollar that health insurance companies take in on admin and profits, while Medicare spends just two cents of every dollar on overhead. For profit health insurance companies are killing this country.

Listener email from Gordon

What is the response to the perspective insurance companies the major part of the problem? Health insurance is not health care. Health insurance screening is health care rationing. Health care providers complain of the cost and time needed to deal with screeners to get care for patients. Each insurer has it's own regulations and forms. Health insurance administrative costs exceed those of not for profits and Medicare.