In the health-care reform debate, one of the chief arguments against the “evil” health-insurance companies is that they often deny claims to individuals. After some conservatives raised the possibility that a government health-care system would bring about “death panels”, critics rhetorically claimed that it is the private insurers who have the real death panels.
The public (read: government) option, which has increasingly lost support, has been touted as a way to increase pressure on private insurers through the supposed added competition, perhaps reducing the level of denied claims. But the following table from a report from the American Medical Association helps clarify the issue:
It turns out that, according to this report, the insurer with the highest number and rate of denied claims is in fact a government plan: Medicare. So much for the theory that the government would be more compassionate.