Corruption in America: Take a look at health insurance

Read this book, if you want to understand health insurance in America. Health care is not mentioned in Zephyr Teachout’s “Corruption in America: From Ben Franklin’s snuff box to Citizens United” but if you have been watching the rise of costs and the continuing problems with access and quality, then the connections are inescapable.

For decades, state government oversight of insurance markets have allowed commercial insurers to rig state-specific marketplaces to favor large employers and large insurers and compel individuals with greater health care needs to buy insurance at higher rates. This defective reallocation of wealth has been institutionalized through the passage of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare.

Another example is Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 which established the Medicare prescription drug benefit. By the design of the program, the federal government is not permitted to negotiate prices of drugs with the drug companies, as federal agencies do in other programs. One would think that it is inherently corrupt to preclude competition in this country.

The congressional staff that wrote these pieces of legislation went on to high-paying jobs as lobbyists and consultants for health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

I welcome thoughts on how to increase transparency and accountability for the actions of our legislators.