Almost all of the publicly traded health insurers reported big increases in revenue and profits last year. The big winners have been the top executives of those companies, led by Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, the nation's third largest health insurer.
About 35 states have given their insurance departments the legal power of prior approval of proposed health insurance rate changes. California is not among them, and advocates believe the state's residents are paying more for their health insurance coverage than necessary.
Executives at health insurance giant WellPoint are predicting they will have to implement "double-digit plus" rate increases next year, demonstrating once again just how politically tone deaf and profit-obsessed they apparently are.
Reform advocates have long suggested that getting folks out of the ranks of the uninsured should cut down on visits to the ER for noncritical medical care. An Oregon study, which was published in the journal Science, would seem to disprove that theory.
The botched attempt to inflict mortal wounds to the health care law, which all but assures that it will be implemented as planned, reminded me of another moment when reform opponents fumbled at a critical time.
It's complicated -- so complicated that unless you are a reader of obscure insurance industry newsletters, you've probably never heard about this, even though it has the potential to cause the collapse of the exchanges and completely circumvent the intent of Congress.
We all know the about the stereotypical hot start-up out of Silicon Valley led by some twenty-something white guy but we don't hear much about women entrepreneurs, computer scientists, researchers and business leaders in tech. How come?
The majority of Americans believe that secret corporate money in politics is a bad thing for democracy, but what about the real life (and death) impacts on the millions of people who passively own part of the company and/or purchase its services?
Don't pay any attention to the votes and rhetoric coming out of Washington. Health care reform can turn out to be very profitable indeed for some of the GOP's biggest benefactors -- the giant insurance companies.
If you think the idea of privatizing Medicare has gone away, that the health insurance industry has thrown in the towel on one of its biggest goals, there was fresh evidence last week that you would be wrong.
CO-OPs could be one of the sleepers in the health care reform law that truly transforms how care is financed and delivered in this country. And they could even hasten the day when the big investor-owned corporations cede the marketplace to nonprofits and move on to other ways of earning a profit.
By the nature of WellPoint's core business, it is connected to some of the most intimate moments in its clients' lives. WellPoint is in a risky business and by not being fully transparent about how they participate in politics, they amplify their risks even more.
There are moral hazards and agency costs in the allocation of corporate funds. Experience has shown that executives will support policies that diminish shareholder returns. The term "capitalism" refers, after all, to the providers of capital.
Health insurance rates are like a runaway train and there's no police force or firefighting squad with the power to stop them. Thirty-five states require health insurance companies to get permission before raising rates, but not California.