Every once in a while, the behavior of some business leaders makes me see red—the Wall Street moguls who took the taxpayers’ bail-out money—and gave themselves huge salaries and even bigger bonuses. And now it’s the health insurance companies! News outlets all over the country are reporting two major developments:
1. The Senate passed its version of health reform without a public option but with both mandates and subsidies in place. If passed, this bill will effectively force millions of Americans and American companies to buy health insurance coverage with or without subsidies from the government, which means insurance companies will have millions more customers. Most of America’s uninsured are working Americans and their families, so they are younger, relatively healthy middle-class persons: the most lucrative and least needy clients. The insurance companies fought hard for the mandates and got them.
2. Insurance lobbyists are swarming Capitol Hill with threats of huge premium increases for health insurance. Why? Because an insurance exchange has been proposed as a way to provide competitively priced coverage for millions of Americans who don’t get health insurance on the job and cannot afford the scandalously priced private market. The presence of an insurance exchange just might cut into their profits, so they threaten everyone, Congress included, with a huge rate increase. The insurance companies don’t want competition, they want all these new customers for themselves! (See Bob Cesca’s October 14 blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/punishing-the-health-insu_b_321420.html.)
I think it’s time, and more, to call these bullies out! Their greed is so obscene that even their allies are having trouble defending them. In fact, the nation’s health-insurance industry is demonstrating exactly why Congress ought to put the public option back in the health-care reform bill. And how about throwing in some rate controls? And pass it too! It’s outrageous for Congress to help insurance companies fleece taxpayers!
It’s time for American taxpayers to say, “We’re mad as #*@#, and we’re not taking it any more.”