Letter to the editor:

Insurance industry isn’t a free market

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 (2:02 a.m.)

Health care costs today are in the hands of the health insurance companies. The United States has health insurance, while other countries have health care. U.S. health care is the most expensive in the world, and the World Health Organization ranked the United States 38th best in health care in the world.

Consumer Reports in November 2011 rated all the health insurance companies, and the results were alarming. The users of the health insurance companies (the consumers) rated the overall system as far too expensive and providing poor results. Only Kaiser Permanente (a nonprofit company) got good scores.

The health insurance industry is not a free market. Our only choice is health insurance or no health insurance. The industry monitors itself with only about five major players across the United States. They really do not compete with one another; they distribute themselves geographically and every state has different providers. You can’t necessarily carry your insurance to another state if you move. User choices are few and the cost differences are minimal. They are all expensive and offer limited options. Hence, it is a tightly controlled monopoly with prices doubling on an average of every eight years. What costs $400 a month today will cost $800 eight years from now.

Health care costs rise 9 percent a year and wages rise 2 percent a year. Do you see where we’re headed if the health insurance companies have their way?

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