Argument: For-profit insurance companies often put patients at risk to cut costs

Issue Report: Single-payer universal health care


Paul Krugman. “The Waiting Game”. New York Times. July 16, 2007 – “In the United States, [delays are] often caused by insurance companies trying to save money. This can lead to ordeals like the one recently described by Mark Kleiman, a professor at U.C.L.A., who nearly died of cancer because his insurer kept delaying approval for a necessary biopsy. ‘It was only later,’ writes Mr. Kleiman on his blog, ‘that I discovered why the insurance company was stalling; I had an option, which I didn’t know I had, to avoid all the approvals by going to ‘Tier II,’ which would have meant higher co-payments.’ He adds, ‘I don’t know how many people my insurance company waited to death that year, but I’m certain the number wasn’t zero.'”

Paul Krugman, Robin Wells. “The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It”. New York Times Review of Books. Volume 53, Number 5 · March 23, 2006 – “American health care tends to divide the population into insiders and outsiders. Insiders, who have good insurance, receive everything modern medicine can provide, no matter how expensive. Outsiders, who have poor insurance or none at all, receive very little. To take just one example, one study found that among Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer, those without insurance were 70 percent more likely than those with insurance to die over the next three years.”