At the forefront of these service (non)providers was U.S. Healthcare, which grew out of the first for-profit HMOs in the 1970s. By the early 1990s, it was the largest publicly traded HMO, with annual revenues of more than $1 billion. The company -- a notorious proponent of gag clauses in physician contracts that prevented doctors from giving patients a thorough description of their treatment options -- took on the mission of revolutionizing the insurance industry. In a 1992 interview with Business Week , U.S. Healthcare founder and chairman Leonard Abramson expressed scorn for traditional carriers, calling them "dinosaurs" and saying they operated in "a dying world." [emphasis mine]
We should be giving tax dollars to this industry? One that prevents your doctor from telling you about all possible treatment options for whatever ails you? No.
It's a readable and not overly techincal review of the industry's morphing from social insurance [premiums are the same for everyone, and risks are spread over as large a pool as possible] to actuarial insurance [individual premiums are based on individual risk, and high-risk members are "encouraged" to drop out of the pool].
Those "dinosaurs" mentioned in the quote above were of the social insurance persuasion, whether they were for-profit or non-profit, and they predominated until about the 1970s. There were flaws, and health care costs were rising*, but our present-day system is almost entirely actuarial now, and things are just worse. Much worse.
* Just thought I'd point out this sentence fragment [top of page 2 of the article]: "... escalating health costs -- a problem that was greatly exacerbated by the growth of for-profit hospital chains."