Privatizing profits, socializing risk, health care edition
The current mantra of those who support our private insurance model for health care is "shared responsibility." Their goal is to ratchet up the amount that individuals will have to pay for medical costs, by buying insurance policies that have higher deductibles, larger co-payments, and higher costs for prescription drugs. What "shared responsibility" is about is maintaining insurance company profits.
Under pressure from Wall Street for disappointing earnings during the first quarter of 2008, CEOs from the two largest health insurance plans, United Health Group and Wellpoint, told investors last week that they would "continue to protect their (profit) margins" and "not sacrifice profitability for membership" i.e., they aren't going to hold down premium increases to keep members on their rolls. Wellpoint's CEO, Angela Braly, also said that her company's market power would give it the ability to lean hard on its network doctors to accept lower reimbursements. What she didn't add was that her predecessor, retired CEO Larry Glasscock, left Wellpoint in 2007 with a $23.9 million farewell package. The private insurance model benefits neither patients nor doctors.
How much healthcare could your state buy with $23.9 million dollars?