Caught on Hannity while zooming through traffic before I could switch stations in disgust: a woman, self-professed god-fearing ordinary mom tells Sean how frightened she is if Health Insurance Reform goes through, citing random (obviously planted) statistics on how many jobs will be destroyed by Obama-care.
She’s earnest, folksy, even compelling in her worry about pushing through this bill during these frightening economic times. Of course since the thing doesn’t even go into effect until 2013, if we aren’t fully recovered from the recession by then we’ll all be on welfare anyway the way I see things.
Did I mention that this sweet worried lady was a health insurance broker? She didn’t either until Sean complimented her on her articulate statement of the industry talking points. She embellished, noting that the job she was really worried about was her own, since blood-sucking leaches like her will have to find something actually productive to do.
You know, the free market is great, when actually free and fair. Cartels like the health insurance companies who enjoy the same anti-trust exemption as Major League Baseball are not operating as market forces would dictate, or actually they are acting exactly how monopolies with no competition operate: destructively.
In the past 13 years, more than 400 corporate mergers have involved health insurers, and a small number of companies now dominate local markets but haven’t delivered on promises of increased efficiency. According to the American Medical Association, 94 percent of insurance markets in the United States are now highly concentrated, and insurers are thriving in the anti-competitive marketplace, raking in enormous profits and paying out huge CEO salaries. Profits at 10 of the country’s largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007. In 2007 alone, the chief executive officers at these companies collected combined total compensation of $118.6 million—an average of $11.9 million each. That is 468 times more than the $25,434 an average American worker made that year. Moreover, the health insurance industry invests more in buying back its own stock and rewarding its shareholders than in improving system operations, reducing premiums, or in developing ways to pay doctors and hospitals fairly.
Health Insurance Broker? What the hell is she brokering? Where? She’s a damn sales person with a Chinese menu of choices: “one from column A(etna), two from column B(lue) and C(ross), oh, so sorry, we’re out of column A, and B and C are pretty much the same.”