Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The profit motive in healthcare keeps on giving...

"The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.

Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care."

But it's never enough, right?

"Because they say they expect costs to rebound, insurers have not been shy about asking for higher rates. In Oregon, for example, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit insurer that is the state’s largest, is asking for a 22 percent increase for policies sold to individuals. In California, regulators have been resisting requests from insurers to raise rates by double digits."

Sound like Wall Street to me.

We won't talk about big pharma and how the Bush Administration set precedence in not allowing the government to procure drugs on behalf of Americans, something the Canadian government routinely does, thus cutting the price in half of what we pay for drugs in this country. 

Bud Fox: How much is enough? 
Gordon Gekko: It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another. 
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