I don’t usually like to write editorials that reference content appearing elsewhere in the issue, but for all rules, there are exceptions, and this is one of them. Starting on page. 14 (of our print edition, anyway) is “Tragic Tale,” a feature written by yours truly, and one that is very likely to be one of the longest pieces of journalism National Underwriter has ever produced. it is the story about a comic book writer named Bill Mantlo who had a great career with Marvel Comics, writing for almost every title Marvel put out. Then he switched careers and became a public defender, which he also excelled at. But then he was nearly killed in a…well, I’ll let you find out for yourself.
The reason why I’m bringing this up is because the article itself throws a fair bit of criticism toward a prominent health insurance company (and an advertiser, it must be noted) in how it handled Mantlo’s case. but the criticism goes beyond that and takes a hard look at how the health insurance industry operates. Even beyond that, there seem to be some fundamental questions about how healthcare is structured from the ground up. Indeed, there are too many people to count whose lives are saved and made better by the kinds of medical care made possible through our modern healthcare system, regardless of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will end up changing it. But there are serious disconnects within the system, too, disconnects that have given rise to a pretty condemning narrative being told by policyholders amongst themselves. It is being told by industry professionals after they leave the industry. It is being told by media types who sense a compelling story (that’s where I come in). And it’s being told by politicians who are either genuine crusaders trying to fix something they feel is out of whack, or who are opportunistic patrons looking to score easy points by harshing on insurance folks.