Bullworth, the 1998 film, opened with a tearful Warren Beatty toying with a pistol, intending to take his own life. Beatty portrayed a Senator caught between a rock and a hard place: a public official bought off by the insurance industry to pass legislation in its favor, and to the detriment of the American public. In a quickly unfolding epiphany, Senator Bullworth sees the error of his ways, including how government, in cahoots with the insurance giants, has screwed over the people. Taking matters into his own hands, Bullworth becomes the people’s political savior. In the process, he betrays one particularly predatory insurance shark. Just as the Senator is poised to sweep the election, the insurance villain picks him off, leaving him and his dreams of justice dead, and the American people just as screwed as before.
Life, once again, imitates art.
A decade later, in the wake of our most historic Presidential election, why is there so much emphasis on mandating health insurance? The answer to that question is simple; it’s good for business, the insurance business, that is. Under most universal healthcare proposals, the insurance industry, in concert with government, would mandate insurance coverage for every U.S. citizen. Allegedly, insurance is designed to safeguard the insured parties from losses. By and large, however, it protects the already-bottomless pockets of the providers, via large and if mandated, unavoidable premiums.
During the Great Depression of the twentieth century, people did not have the money to buy various types of insurance coverage; as a result, the general public did not address these requirements. They just took their chances and went on with their lives. In those days, general practitioners (doctors) took care of the public’s medical needs; when necessary, they even made house calls at no extra charge. Homeowners’ insurance was not required, because the lenders held the rights to foreclose. Upon registration of a vehicle, a nominal State fee was used to fund an uninsured motorists’ fund to compensate those injured by drivers without auto insurance coverage. Life insurance, usually with a benefit only large enough to cover one’s burial expenses, was also optional and still is. Of course, in the case of whole life insurance, the policy is guaranteed to pay off, as no one’s life is infinite.
Nowadays, the insurance industry has a strangle hold on the Average Joe and Jane because it is not properly regulated. Who insures the insurance companies? You may be surprised to learn that the general public underwrites insurance companies! AIG, the insurance giant, failed to live by its own motto of “Never outlive your money.” When the corporation went into default, the public had to bail it out by order of the government which obviously lives in the industry’s pockets. Don’t you find it strange that a company that sells insurance does not buy it? And why would a government enacted to protect its people, a people now sinking under an oppressive economy, seek to safeguard the already wealthy insurance industry if this was not in the mutual best interests of the lawmakers and the insurance sharks?
The quest for a global (read: socialistic) society is not to the benefit of our citizens. We cannot compete in a global society without relinquishing some of the gains we have made over the last century. And the insurance industry has made a helluva lot of gains.
Have you taken a good look at your paycheck, if you still get one? Have you noticed the difference between gross income and net pay? The difference, discounting income taxes, is insurance. Insurance can be profitable to providers as well as employers. Companies that purchase their employees’ life insurance policies enjoy these purchases at non-taxable rates. And, the employers can, at any time and at their whim, borrow money against their workers’ policies.
The old cliché, “Better to have insurance and not need it than to need it and not have it” is a guerilla marketing-tactic that plays upon the public’s worst fears. Ironically, the fears are actually created by the insurance industry itself! Consider how many times you have attempted to file a legitimate insurance claim, only to discover that the fine print in your policy (that was never pointed out or fully explained) denies you the money. Or perhaps worse, is considered to be a fraudulent claim under certain circumstances! Do you know what your policy truly covers, as well as what it does not cover? As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is power” and you can start being knowledgeable by demanding that your agent explain your coverage in great detail.
We are supposed to be living under a government in which life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is protected by our Constitution. We do not live in a dictatorship, but who is at the helm here? The proposed healthcare mandates that threaten to take on a life of their own are certain to suck the life (remaining funds) out of many of us. If this does not smack of dictatorship and oppression, what does?
Do we really need insurance mandated? And who truly stands to gain if the mandates pass? Life, after all, is a gamble. As Frank Sinatra sang, “You’re riding high in April and shot down in May. That’s life!”