Health Insurance Investments In Big Tobacco Revealed

by Irma Arkus

Privatisation of health care is a fabulous thing, if you are a health insurance company, that is.

According to the latest report in the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol 360:2483-2484, no. 23, Jun 4, 2009) by Boyd, Himmelstein and Woolhandler, the insurance companies in US and abroad have been confirmed to own stock in tobacco manufacturing amounting to almost $4.5 billion in investment. The largest being Prudential.

In other words, the lovely people who are vested in keeping you healthy, are also intentionally vested in manufacturing and distributing variety of cancer-causing substances.

Introduction of a US national health care coverage is currently a hot topic, as people are faced with a broken health care system. This report only adds fuel to fire, as health insurance companies directly profit and twofold, from patients suffering due to use of tobacco. [NEJM, subscription required]