THE QUESTION

Are insurance companies really to blame?

Last week, President Obama admonished insurance company executives for excessive rate increases. He took aim at them again in his speech in Philadelphia on Monday. How much of our problem rests with insurance companies and how much is the result of other facets of the health-care system?

Posted by Rachel Saslow on March 9, 2010 12:47 PM
FROM THE PANEL

The health care whipping boy

Certainly the insurance industry bears a hefty amount of blame for Americans' dissatisfaction.

Posted by Doug Ulman, on March 11, 2010 4:14 PM

The cash cows' beef

Small business has come to view insurers with hostility. In their view, private insurers -- both for-profits and not-for-profits -- use the small-group market as a cash cow.

Posted by Robert F. Graboyes, on March 11, 2010 2:19 PM

Going beyond insurance reform

People should pay for routine care and only tap into health insurance when they need to cover major, unpredictable issues.

Posted by Peter Neupert, on March 11, 2010 1:13 PM

Yeah, insurers are scapegoated. But tell me again why we have this industry?

Insurers are often scapegoated, when many of our problems reflect much wider concerns within the medical economy. Yet insurers face a special burden of proof because....well, there is no obvious reason for this industry to exist in its current form.

Posted by Harold Pollack, on March 10, 2010 6:21 PM

It takes a village to solve the health-care crisis

The Village needs a public option to drive costs down in local markets and provide competition.

Posted by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, on March 10, 2010 10:21 AM

Economics 101: It starts with the buyer

Insurance companies are doing what they are supposed to: drive shareholder value. Unfortunately, what comes along with that is the compromise of quality of care.

Posted by Sreedhar Potarazu, on March 10, 2010 10:12 AM

A lesson from a classic

Health insurance companies are the target of public ire because everyone knows they are the one group with the capacity to make the most dramatic changes to the fragmented system as we know it today and have not done so.

Posted by Georges Benjamin, on March 9, 2010 5:38 PM

Can we avoid the blame game?

I remember a few years ago when everyone was blaming doctors...then it became the pharmaceutical industry...and now it's insurance companies.

Posted by John J. Whyte, on March 9, 2010 4:08 PM

Why insurers don't control costs

One of the oddities of the health-care reform debate is that we tend to despise insurers for two contradictory things. On the one hand, we hate them for saying no. No to procedures, no to people, no to reimbursements. On the other hand, we hate them for raising premiums and being expensive.

Posted by Ezra Klein, on March 9, 2010 1:51 PM

They have all the power

The insurance industry has had decades to get it right and instead they decided to get as much as they could.

Posted by Kathy-Ellen Kups, on March 9, 2010 12:28 PM

Bashing insurance companies does not get at the root of high rates

Huge rate increases by health insurance companies are largely caused by market conditions and misguided government laws and regulations.

Posted by Michael Critelli, on March 8, 2010 9:29 PM

FEATURED COMMENTS

thomgr: Poor poor insurance companies. They are not to blame. They just want to make a profit first and provide service second. Think about it. W...

sally62: I wonder why the elephant in the room keeps being ignored. The real problem is that the more medicine available, the more is consumed. I...

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