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It’s often said Americans without health insurance are just one major illness away from bankruptcy.  If a serious illness or injury hits, your family can be saddled with enormous medical bills.  The cost of surgery to repair a damaged disc in your spine including the anesthesiologist, surgeon and surgical center can run upwards of $60,000.  A two week stay at a hospital can mean similar charges.  Who can afford too pay these?  Only the very wealthy or people with insurance.  Medical insurance operates on a simple concept.  The vast majority of people don’t see a doctor very often.  If they do, it’s usually for an inexpensive office call.  So a company collects premiums from many consumers.   The money then goes into an account to cover medical bills for the small percentage of people who incur them.   While the money is waiting to be paid out, the insurance company has it invested.  Rates are set to cover the anticipated cost of the medical care needed for the few with a certain percentage retained as profit for the company.   This being a free enterprise society and companies existing solely to make money and more of it, the insurance company is always looking for ways to increase profits.  It seems a new technique is being used.  A February report in the Los Angeles Times explained that Blue Cross had “sent letters to California doctors asking them to report the medical conditions of patients so it could use the new information to cancel coverage for new enrollees.”    The article created a public relations disaster and Blue Cross backed down, at least for the present.  Once again the insurance companies show their true colors.  Right up there with oil companies, tobacco or pharmaceutical companies.   Despite all the friendly or patriotic sounding names of these insurance companies, or their “we’re here for you” advertising, they operate no differently than any other business in America.  Profit is king. 

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