Sunday, December 6, 2009

Health Care Is A Sick Business

Health care is a sick business
Imagine an entity that is both amoral and soulless; its guiding precept is profit and growth. This is the foundation of the modern American conglomerate; including those of the health care, pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Health insurance giant Aetna is planning to force up to 650,000 clients to drop their coverage next year as it seeks to raise additional revenue to meet profit expectations.
In a third-quarter earnings conference call in late October, officials at Aetna announced that in an effort to improve on a less-than-anticipated profit margin in 2009, they would be raising prices on their consumers in 2010…Aetna actually made a profit in 2009 but not at levels that it anticipated.
This is consistent with other insurers as well. In May of 2008, “Wellpoint (one of the nation’s largest private pay health plans) reported less-than-expected profits from the first three months of the year” Angela Braly, President and CEO reported, “We will not sacrifice profitability for membership."

Cutting their rolls, increasing premiums and lowering physician re-imbursement to enhance profit margins…could it be any more obvious that the only insurance business they are in is ensuring profit?

Cutting their rolls and raising premiums will increase the numbers of uninsured, typically the sick and elderly, who in turn, will be added to government-run Medicare and Medicaid programs. If that isn’t socialized medicine, what is?

Even as drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation’s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years.
In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.”
Wow, what a concession: raising prices by more than $10 billion, conceding $8 billion, on their way to $300 billion annually, and growing!
In addition, David Brennan, head of pharma giant AstraZeneca, when asked if he would oppose reform said: "We said there were principles we didn't want to see violated. And if those principles -- price controls, Medicare rebates, moving dual eligibles back from Medicare and back into the Medicaid discount program -- if those things happen, I can't see how we could be supportive of the program."
In short, if health care reform does not guarantee increasing profit margins and growth, BigPharma will oppose it.
By 2017, health care costs are projected to reach $4.3 trillion dollars; an astounding $138,890 per second!! Don’t forget; what you and I call health care costs, the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance industrial complex call profit, projected growth and earnings.
It is precisely this profit oriented approach to health care that has created and drives both, the disease crisis and its subsequent disease-care financial crisis in America.
At the current rate of increase, the cost of family insurance will reach twenty-seven thousand dollars or more in a decade, taking more than a fifth of every dollar that people earn. Businesses will see their health-coverage expenses rise from ten per cent of total labor costs to seventeen per cent. Health-care spending will essentially devour all our future wage increases and economic growth. State budget costs for health care will more than double, and Medicare will run out of money in just eight years. The cost problem, people have come to realize, threatens not just our prosperity but our solvency.”

Without reform the only thing that will alter this course is its obvious and anticipated collapse, as happened on Wall Street.
Does anyone really still believe we don’t need reform? If so, what have you got to offer that can save us?

No comments: