Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Insurance costs and John Grisham

I was all set to blog about Edwardian puppet shows (for good, journalistic reasons), when the insurance industry released its study saying that health care reform would lead to in impressive increases in insurance premiums. And there went the puppet show idea. (At least for today. If you're curious about what I have to say, there's always tomorrow. These blogs are ravenous beasts, you know, always, always, always needing to be fed!).

Back to health care reform, I went searching for some semi-predigested assessment of the accuracy of the report and found it--no surprise--in Time, the inventor of the semi-predigested assessment. The article "How Valid is the Insurers' Attack on Health Reform" is an excellent overview, from a conservative enough, pro-business enough source to make it reasonably reliable on this issue.

As a personal and literary aside to this latest health care reform flap. . .

I read what I term "good trash" for 30-40 minutes, five days a week, while going nowhere on an elliptical. Currently, my "good trash" book is John Grisham's The Appeal. It's another of his stories about decent people doing battle against evil Big Business, in this case a large chemical firm that killed people with its cost-cutting habit of dumping lethal chemicals into pits.

Mr. Grisham likes to pit little people in the right against rich, greedy people who want more. The Appeal takes on Big Money's corruption of state politics (a state Supreme Court race), corruption of decent people through their religious beliefs, manipulation of homophobia for political gains. I'm about 4/5th through the book, and it looks as though this time, depressingly, Big Money is going to win.

Mr. Grisham has already taken on the insurance industry directly in 1997's The Rainmaker--and in that book, the little guys on the side of right happily beat up on the greedy big guys. I do admire this author's frequent use of his own bully pulpit to keep his readers mindful of the fact that greed is a capitalistic society's most frequent failing. John Grisham, through master story-telling, keeps us worried that a lot of skulduggery may be going on behind Big Money's curtain of public relations and late-blooming "reports."

Reading this man's books always makes me feel a bit paranoid about what all those Big Business people are up to. But then, perhaps, that's not a bad way to feel in the face of the current debate over health care reform.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Martha, for the link. The very idea that health insurance companies should stand on their right to charge higher premiums based on an individual's higher health risk, due to factors beyond her control -- like age and genetics -- floors me. Where is our/their common sense?