Monday, October 26, 2009

Stop the Obscene Profits of the Health Ca --- Whoops. Never Mind.

In the politics of demonization, few industries have suffered as much as health care insurers. Admittedly, they have sometimes brought it on themselves, but, as usual, the hysterical left is just that -- hysterical -- and, as usual, wrong.

One favorite theme of the HL is that the profits of health care insurers are "obscene." Nancy Pelosi called the profits "immoral" and "obscene," while Democratic congressman Chris Van Hollen said that insurance industry profits have "skyrocketed." The worst (as usual) is, which said in an ad that "Health insurance companies are willing to let the bodies pile up as long as their profits are safe."

They're all wrong.

Check out the facts here. According to a study by Fortune magazine:

Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

Gosh, 2.2 percent. Can't have that, can we?

But, you say, that was last year only -- what about the Bush years, when greed ran rampant?

Sorry, wrong again:
The industry's overall profits grew only 8.8 percent from 2003 to 2008, and its margins year to year, from 2005 forward, never cracked 8 percent.

I wish I could tell you how many times friends of mine, apparently rational, have railed about insurance company profits. To those friends I say this: You know who you are. Please use the comments section of this blog to leave your sincere, heartfelt apologies. In return, I won't gloat.



  1. C'mon now, are you simply reactionarily railing on behalf of your Croesus-ly crusty curmudgeonly Grand Old Party?
    To what does this 'industry' contribute for the betterment of anything? What benefits (ie enhancements or even services) are obtained by the 'industry's' efforts? Don't say, 'jobs'. It seems the 'industry' functions as a thousand-siphoned drain, funneling funds to the few, forgetting common folk who would be free of these parasites. The fact that the 'industry' even has a SAY in what the government does or does not do is tremendously shameful and reflects badly on not only the House and Senate, but on the population that rolls over and falls back asleep, content in its own shortsightedness.
    Their planned obfuscation drains away at the American myth, as I think of it now, not dream, myth: the myth of "nations" and the resilience of cartels.
    Please forgive swipe at your politically poisonous party which began this comment. The other party is also rank, rotten, & has stinkfoot. No one should be surprised at the crumbling from within.

  2. My dear Bunny, you have gone way beyond the four corners of my post. It was limited to the issue of health care insurance company profits. If you want to complain about other aspects of the health care insurance business, you are certainly free to do so, and you are always welcome to do so in The Wiz's domain. The point, however, is that if someone argues for reform based on the "obscene" profits of the insurers, they are simply, factually wrong.

    Thanks for checking in -- keep reading and keep posting.

    BTW -- "Croesus-ly crusty curmudgeonly Grand Old Party"? Surely you jest!

    The Wiz