I was eating breakfast this morning, watching the morning news when a very professionally (read as expensive) ad for a major insurance company appeared. I was fascinated. Why do they have to advertise? Even more amazing to me was that the ad basically said nothing except how great this company was and how much they care for their "customers.”

I laughed because this company is, in my and many of my patients’ and colleagues’ minds, the bottom of the barrel when it comes to compassion and customer satisfaction.

I began to think of all the other insurance company advertisements that I see and hear in the media. My mind pictured the numerous billboards I pass on the way to work telling me how each healthcare insurance company cares more than the others.

Do we need these ads? Is the public unaware of the existence of insurance companies? Does anybody else find it absurd that both doctors and patients have to fight to obtain reimbursement for reasonable expenses while the companies pour millions into ad campaigns that are little more than self-aggrandizement (read that as lies). Insurance companies have lost their souls and are bottom line oriented businesses more focused on shareholders than on care and love.

Let’s get real here, insurance industry. Do what you are supposed to do — help insure that people get what they need. Stop spending on ads and use those millions to provide meaningful care for those you are supposed to serve.

And don’t start me on the amount of money hospitals spend on ads. Do we not know that they exist either?