Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

Time to divest from insurance companies?

Alice Faryna M.D. suggests that PNHP members lead the way:

After hearing someone say that health care reform is the civil rights issue of this decade, I retrieved the 1966 speech on civil disobedience by Dr. Martin Luther King. The two strategies described were marches and boycotts. His marches were successful because large target populations could be found in cities like Chicago and Atlanta , and quickly reached through churches. The single-payer movement has not been able to find such concentrated populations. Our rallies in D.C. and the Mad Docs tour in 2009 did not produce numbers of sufficient size to command attention. Let’s consider boycotts.

Dr. King said, “There is nothing quite so effective as refusal to cooperate economically with the forces and institutions which perpetuate evil in our communities.” Under the leadership of SCLC, refusing to buy products from companies which do not hire Negroes (sic), resulted in an increase of income in that community by more than $2 million annually.

Another example is the boycott organized by the Committee of African Organizations (CAO) with support from South Africa ’s Liberal Party in 1959. Additional support grew in British organizations and international labor movements. South African products came off the shelves. Eventually apartheid ended.

Paul Krugman recently commented on the sharp increase in premiums announced by WellPoint in their California individual market. WellPoint is not the villain. The current system invites a death spiral for the insurance industry which relies on large a large pool containing healthy clients to keep costs down. In the current economy, cash-strapped workers drop coverage resulting in a smaller, sicker pool. Legislation which bans discriminatory practices will further increase premiums and hasten the death spiral.

I suggest that PNHP and other organizations support disinvestment in companies which are on an unsustainable path. A precedent exists for pension fund managers to do this: In 2002, CALPERS embarked on a series of “socially responsible” investment boycotts starting with Asian companies which violated guidelines on human rights and labor standards. Also targeted were companies like Disney, Safeway, the New York Stock Exchange, and health maintenance organizations.

We could begin with encouraging PNHP members to purge their personal portfolios of health insurance companies; I have already done so. I intend to approach the STRS board with a request to divest from companies likely to see a sharp stock price reduction. Money talks.

0
No votes yet

Comments

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture
Submitted by Card-carrying_B... on

Withdrawal of money talks way louder-y.

Card-carrying_Buddhist's picture
Submitted by Card-carrying_B... on

of health insurance.

A national "Drop Day."

Until the Sickness n' Death Profiteers drop their prices. Or die a well-deserved death.

My insurance, which is s'posed to be good insurance, now costs one third of my income.

We could all save a lot of money.

We might even create an insurance-refusal pool, paying into a group we create ourselves, and can draw from. Then pay for a ticket to Europe or Thailand for better-quality, lower-cost, real health care.

Boycotts r gud.

Worked for Gandhi,& against all odds. Why should we not similarly prevail?

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

Many businesses, and some unions, are "self-insured"-that is, according to my understanding, they pool the premiums of all members (and thus require mandates, otherwise the spread wouldn't have an actuarial soundness), and then create contracts with an insurance entity that is essentially a subsidiary of the group. I have been a member of such a plan, and it worked reasonably well. It would be possible, I think, to create such an entity in partnership with a large enough group, say the NNU (although they haven't gone that route - yet), or some other group, as yet created. It would be wonderful to see if people who are much more informed than I had any further ideas on this, for example, Wendell Potter would be a great resource. Just a throwing out a thought that's been percolating in this old pan.

Submitted by hipparchia on

you need a large enough group that is stable [expected to be in existence for several years] and has lots of healthy people in it and only a few sick people.

there are some other legal barriers and the hcr legislation addresses self-insured plans too [making it more difficult to form co-ops iirc, which is what this would be more or less], although i don't know what made it into the final bill.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

insurance dollars". I don't know what the effects this POS bill would have on co-ops, or "self-insurance" groups, but as a protest idea, just to investigate its potential and maybe make some news (let's call Wendell!!) it could at least sharpen the difference between non-profit, patient-centered CARE vs the albatross we are about to deal with.

Submitted by hipparchia on

My insurance, which is s'posed to be good insurance, now costs one third of my income.

yikes. i once had good insurance too [on paper it was good, but just wait til you get expensively sick...] and was paying about 30-40% of my income too, but at least that covered out of pocket expenses as well as premiums.

i would love for there to be a nationwide 'drop your coverage' day, but people just aren't going to do that. nor can i blame them.