Keeping Costs Low

Yeah, that’s what it’s about.

It never fails to absolutely fucking stagger me, the shit we let insurance companies feed us and never even question. I don’t mean that I automatically subscribe to the idea that everybody who works for an insurance company everywhere is out to utterly screw you. I mean that it’s beyond my comprehension that during all our national wankery about “tort reform” and “prescription drug costs” nobody ever advances the fucking basic idea that maybe, just maybe, these companies maketoo much fucking money.

There are now two superproviders that increasingly dominate the
for-profit healthcare field. One is UnitedHealth, which capped a long
series of acquisitions with the 2005 purchase of Pacificare for some $8
billion. In 2006 United’s health services revenues reached an
astounding $64 billion, and its medical enrollment rose to about 28
million individuals.

The other giant is Wellpoint Inc., created
through the blockbuster 2004 merger of Anthem Inc. and Wellpoint Health
Network, formerly Blue Cross of California. Wellpoint later spent $6.5
billion to acquire WellChoice, the publicly traded parent of New York’s
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. By 2006 Wellpoint controlled the Blues
in 14 states, had some 34 million members and took in annual revenues
of about $52 billion.

The second tier consists of Aetna (2006
revenues and members, respectively: $25 billion and 15 million), Humana
($21 billion and 11 million), Cigna ($16 billion and 9 million) and
Health Net ($13 billion and 7 million).

The real problem with class warfare is the severe lack of it.

A.

6 thoughts on “Keeping Costs Low

  1. I don’t mean that I automatically subscribe to the idea that everybody who works for an insurance company everywhere is out to utterly screw you.
    Well, no, but it’s a good rule of thumb to reckon thatevery insurance company as a collective wholeis out to utterly screw you. Which is why you need to get insurance companies the hellout of the healthcare industry completely, although if you think they’d relinquish that kind of revenue without a huge fight (and they do — they lie and lie and lie), you’re either naive or brain-damaged…

  2. but but but the shareholders. wall street. and and and bonuses.
    take them out of healthcare. period. sell car insurance.

  3. Not to nitpick, but you highlighted the *revenues*, not the profits, and they’re not the same thing. From the article in question:
    “Last year, the top six health insurance companies hadcombined profits of more than $10 billion. (my emphasis) What’s amazing is that they netted so much after spending prodigious amounts on marketing and administration.”
    $10 billion is still way too much money.
    Sigh…when I move back to Canada, the healthcare system here is one thing I’ll be very happy to get away from. I’ll be hoping for all of your sakes that the U.S. moves to some kind of single-payer system really, really soon – the cost of this crazy system is not measured only in dollars and cents, but also in the limits it places on people’s lives.

  4. Sigh…when I move back to Canada, the healthcare system here is one thing I’ll be very happy to get away from.
    Can me and my uninsured, chronic conditions with high cost maintenance drugs family sort of…tag along?
    Please…

  5. Left Rev.,
    Not sure if you mean that or not, but if you do actually move to Canada, you wouldn’t be the first American to do so for health (insurance) reasons. 😉
    Canada’s immigration policy is also still considerably more open than the one in the U.S., as far as I know.
    Oh, and everyone thinks of Canada as this place that’s always cold. Now, that’s true in the winter…but summer’s just as warm as here. And if you already live in Wisconsin or Chicago, our winters will make you feel right at home – plus, imagine a whole NATION that’s hockey-obsessed (calling it “ice hockey” is only for hothouse flowers ;-).

Comments are closed.