THE BLOG

Health Insurance Exec Admits Her Industry Rations Care: "We Believe In Controlling Utilization"

09/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • David Sirota Newspaper columnist, radio host (AM760), bestselling author

In a New York Times story today about health insurance executives and their employees complaining about criticism of the health insurance industry, one executive acknowledges that the industry is all about rationing care:

"I believe we're getting the pushback because we are standing up for what we believe in," said Cheryl Tidwell, 45, Humana's director of commercial sales training. "We believe there's a better way to control costs by controlling utilization and getting people involved in their health care."

Now, I know we're supposed to think that private for-profit health care companies don't ration care, while government-run programs like Medicare do - but as the insurance industry admits right here for all to see, that's just not the case. The obvious truth is that the health insurance industry works hard to "control utilization" - that is, it works hard to make sure that when you need a costly medical service, you are "controlled" (read: prevented) from getting it.

Sure, we're all against excessive testing - and there are good ways to deal with those inefficiencies. But that's not what the insurance industry is talking about. It is talking about its practice of rationing care - and now that reality is right there in black and white for all to see.