The insurance industry has demonstrated once again why we need a strong public option to provide Americans a choice other than Big Insurance.
Aetna announced that it will deliberately cut 600,000 people from its insurance rolls to raise its profits next year:
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. The insurance giant predicted that the company would subsequently lose between 300,000 and 350,000 members next year from its national account as well as another 300,000 from smaller group accounts.
Aetna's decision to downsize the number of clients in favor of higher premiums is, as one industry analyst told American Medical News, a "pretty candid" admission. It also reflects the major concerns offered by health care reform proponents and supporters of a public option for insurance coverage, who insist that the private health insurance industry is too consumed with the bottom line. A government-run plan would operate solely off its members' premiums.
Aetna is saying they want to make more money on each person they insure to please Wall Street, so they are raising prices. It doesn't matter to them if this action causes them to lose some less profitable customers, customers that actually use their health care benefits. In fact, they welcome it. They are more than happy to let these people be priced out of the market, go uninsured, go bankrupt, or lose their lives. These people are not bringing in enough money for Aetna, so Aetna would rather not have them as a customer.
Aetna is following the insurance company playbook as articulated last year by Wellpoint CEO Angela Braly when she said, "We will not sacrifice profitability for membership." In other words, the insurance companies won't sell health coverage to more people if it means they will make less money on each person.
They don't care about coverage, they just care about profits. This is exactly why we must have a public health insurance option.
Health reform without a public option will not not work. The insurance industry playbook would still be on the table, and they would still find ways to cut people for more profit. Even with laws against insurance companies denying care, they would still find ways to do it… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NOW! Blog>
Let’s not forget who is the Senator from Aetna. Joe LIEberman, should be stripped of his committee chairmanship, still promises to vote against ANY public option, even a triggered one.
I never thought I’d say this, but the GOP has actually proposed an amendment to the health care bill with which I agree.
By proposing an amendment that would require members of Congress to register for public health care if the so-called public option were to pass, the two Republicans hoped to further deter their colleagues from voting in favor.
The hitch in their plan: several Democrats took them seriously.
Speaking to MSNBC on Friday night, Sen. Sherrod Brown explained why he offered to co-sponsor the amendment.
"[With] Sen. Coburn, nine times we said we wanted to co-sponsor," he said. "Usually it takes once and they say yes. I've always accepted that; so has everybody I know in the Senate. Nine times we asked to co-sponsor and their office either just said we'll get back to you or ignored our calls and our emails because it was all a sham. ... They clearly don't like the public option. They were making fun of it. Their whole game is to delay and deceive and to play political games. ... And so, it's just a little partisan game they're playing."… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Raw Story>
I think Representatives and Senators should get whatever health coverage they provide for us in this bill, whether or not it contains the public option. If they leave us with nothing, nothing is what they should get. Perhaps if we tell Republicans that this is really a pubic option, they will support it. Whether in the Minneapolis Airport restroom, in the boudoir of the DC Madam, in the pages cloak room, or on the Appalachian trail, they have a demonstrated affinity for that!