How’s that for a catchy title, huh?
One of the things we hear ad nauseam is about how the “obesity epidemic” is how it’s causing the “health care crisis”. And of course, by that, it’s meant that our fat (and therefor unhealthy) selves have to go to the doctors and hospitals so much, insurance companies are having to raise premiums to everybody just to break even.
There are so many ways to debunk this myth it’s not even funny.
First of all, the “poor widdle insurance companies” are not hurting. When I was working for the evil insurance company as an entry level phone slave (all calls were diverted through us, whether we could actually help the customer or not), we received quarterly statements about how the company was doing. One statement (right after they changed our insurance policies to the most expensive to us, the customer and least expensive to them, the provider) stated that in the previous quarter they’d made a record profit of hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes, the same quarter they implemented (what I liked to think of as) the “screw you, employees” insurance for us, they made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.
The insurance companies are not out there to help you, they are out there to make money. Health is a big business, and the insurance companies want their cut of the money that comes from the health care industry.
But I’m not going to talk about the realities of being a phone slave for the mega health insurance company. No, I’m going to use two different examples.
One, is the governor of my state. Recently (this week) he had a bicycling accident.
The governor is recovering from six fractured ribs and a separated ligament in his right shoulder. Ritter fell off his bike and did a shoulder roll onto the pavement of East 23rd Avenue near High Street while riding with four other cyclists. His front bike tire bumped the bike in front of him, causing the crash.
From another source:
“He did a classic shoulder roll, and separated his shoulder,” Dr. Carlton Barnett said during a news conference at Denver Health Medical Center Wednesday. “Fractures are to his upper right ribs in front and back and around his shoulder.” The doctor says the governor has six broken ribs.
“This is not an uncommon injury. We see two or three a week”, Barnett said. “The primary therapy (for patients) is preventative care making sure there’s pain control, and making sure they don’t develop complications from breathing problems.” Doctors want to make sure he doesn’t develop anything such as pneumonia.
(bolding my edit)
The story goes on to report that the governor is an avid bicyclist and regularly goes on morning rides. So, what we’re looking at is a lifestyle choice some guy made which ended him up in the hospital for 4 days (so far) with 6 broken ribs and a torn ligament. Don’t you think that he, and people like him, who get hurt doing the so-called healthy things and end up in the hospital, are pushing up premiums?
Or in other words, their lifestyle choices* are making my insurance premiums raise.
The other thing I want to post is this. Today was the first time I’ve read Dr. Grumpy, and I saw the link in a friend’s blog. It’s a hard post to read, about the economic cost of one man’s refusal to admit his wife’s cancer is, indeed, fatal, so click the link with care.
There were a lot of things this doctor stated about the cost of this woman’s care. The most important thing was this: This woman’s care has cost at least a million dollars here, likely a hell of a lot more. I’m pretty sure this family’s premiums don’t cover that, and I know they aren’t wealthy. So the money is coming from their insurance company, which is YOUR premiums.
Again, the point he is making is a different point than I am making, but it comes to the same thing. While this isn’t a “lifestyle” issue, but rather, one of a grieving husband in severe denial that his comatose cancer ridden wife won’t have some sort of miracle, it comes to the same thing. He’s been to hospital after hospital after hospital, while his insurance pays the bills. Do you really think that this type of action doesn’t affect anybody else’s premiums? Remember what I said earlier about how the insurance companies really aren’t there to help you, but rather to make money?
We (the fatties of the world) make a very nice, handy target to blame for all the worlds ills. Especially right now, with the media and politicians doing everything they can to demonize us further. But look at the bigger picture. Thin and normal weight people get sick all the time. People who make a habit of working out (being an avid bicycling enthusiast) get seriously injured all the time. People who are described as being “once a beautiful, vibrant woman” get cancer, and it takes over their bodies and destroys them. Often. People who are otherwise healthy all of a sudden have heart attacks or strokes or get diabetes.
And it doesn’t matter if the person is skinny, normal, or fat. These problems happen in all weight and activity demographics. It’s not just the “fat people” who are causing your premiums to rise. It’s everybody who ever gets sick, or needs more than a quick visit to the doctor for an ingrown toenail. Well, that, and the head honchos at the insurance companies greed. But that’s a post for a different day.
*Note: If you’ve read here long enough, you know I do not think obesity is a “lifestyle choice”. I’m using the words of the opposition to show how something that really IS a lifestyle choice does actually effect them — such as a person who is an avid “insert sport/exercise here” can get hurt doing the thing they love doing and end up needing acute medical care that will cost tens of thousands of dollars. Medical fees your premiums help to pay for.
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