Health insurance companies do not exist to produce health, local physician Dr. Matt Hine said.
"Their job is a financial model and they do it very, very well, serving the needs of their investors and their stockholders," he said today.
Dr. HIne was among more than two dozen local doctors and residents who faced noonday drivers at Market Street and M.L. King Boulevard today promoting a single-payer national health insurance model that would operate much like Medicare but include more people.
Scott Wilson, spokesman for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state's largest health insurer, said Dr. Hine's take on insurance companies does not reflect business at BlueCross BlueShield.
"We absolutely spend all day thinking about providing high-quality care for members," Mr. Wilson said.
He said the insurance company processes millions of claims a week, so it needs to make a profit to maintain modern technology. However, BlueCross BlueShield is a nonprofit organization, and it doesn't answer to stockholders, Mr. Wilson said.