Why Health Insurance Is Such a Huge Problem in the United States
As pointed out earlier, every industrialized country in the world other than the United States made the decision long ago that health care is a fundamental right of citizenship. In these countries the medical providers work with the government in the provision of most health care services to the population. This has not been the case in the United States, where the citizens have discouraged government involvement in health care. The question then becomes, Why has health insurance become such a controversial subject for the United States?
The health care industry has become the largest sector of the U.S. economy, consuming about 17.9 percent of the gross domestic product in 2009 and 2010 and resulting in an annual health care bill approaching $3 trillion. This is a very large amount of money, and health care reform means reducing the annual increase. However, many businesses and individuals have become very wealthy and powerful producing health services and products over the years, and they will do everything in their power to preserve their profits and their influence. These special interest groups are concerned about the possibility of change in the way they do business, even if the proposed change will improve the availability of health services for the population.
Lobosky (2012) notes that the larges thealth insurers in the United States increased their profits by over 50 percent and provided their executives with millions of dollars in bonuses during the period from 2003 to 2006. This was accomplished by raising premiums, denying claims, contracting with health care providers that accepted the lowest fees, and discovering ways to cancel policies when individuals became ill. This has caused many in the United States to question the priorities of health insurers that appear to value profit over the well-being of consumers. Reforms in the ACA include requirements to stop these sorts of practices by commercial insurers.