Sunday, October 18, 2015
I'm tired of being the bug. I wanna be the windshield!
A modern day "Tale of Two Cities"....the number of "health insurance co-ops" set up to enroll people in the ACA program, aka Obamacare, is declining by two more due to financial underperformance, leaving only 15 of the original 23 still in business. Meanwhile four of the giant health insurers are merging to become even more "giant-er".
As the photo headline above says, Aetna is buying Humana, and Anthem (Blue Cross) is buying Cigna. The combined Aetna-Humana will insure 33 million people, and Anthem-Cigna will insure 53 million people. The current top insurer, UnitedHealthcare, insures 49 million people. (FYI, those three insurers will have a combined revenue of $448 BILLION per year.)
From what I have read (and if anyone inside the medical/insurance field has other information I'd like to hear it), far-and-away the BIG winners in the Obamacare health care reform movement are the health insurers. Early on the Democrats who pushed for Obamacare enlisted the health insurers support, promising them millions of predominantly young, mostly healthy, new clients....in other words, lots of new income, with little additional expense. CHA-CHING!
Here's what it comes down to: the health insurers are making money hand-over-fist, with numbers few of us can even imagine. They have to invest their profits somewhere (they don't pay it all out in dividends), and they have found that there is no place more profitable to put their cash than in....themselves!
“When big [companies] like this join forces rather than compete, it’s always a worry in terms of choice,” said Betsy Imholz, special projects director for Consumer Reports. “History has generally taught us when there’s greater concentration of health insurers, premiums are higher. Companies say there are greater efficiencies, but I’ve never seen that passed along to consumers.”
“We really do need the regulators to be watching out for consumers in this because there’s not too much consumers can do” about it, she said.
What? Regulators watching out for consumers? ROFLMAO! Maybe in the old days, but now regulators are controlled by the politicians who appoint them, and the politicians are controlled by the companies (via their campaign contributions/PAC's) being regulated. The fox is in charge of the hen house!
I thought capitalism was all about free markets, and competition? No? This all sounds rigged to me.
So, let's all go to the polls next year and vote to re-elect the same bunch of politicians that we have right now. I mean, they're doing such a great job looking out for our interests, why shouldn't we?