Thursday, November 19, 2015

ObamaCare threatened by Wall Street and low Insurer Profits!!!

This story is not what the media would have you believe.

Say it with me: "Insurance isn't health care!"

My conservative friend in Milwaukee called me and said, "See, ObamaCare is failing." 

It's a common mistake. He's conflating UnitedHealth - an insurance company, on Wall Street, answering to investors - with the real providers of health care; doctors or hospitals.  

UnitedHealth only covers about 500,000 people in the Health Care Exchanges, so they're not a big player, but the spin on this deceptive and ghoulish. 

UnitedHealth may leave the exchanges because they can't make the kind of profit their investors want. That's what Wall Street is all about:
If an insurer sets premiums that are too low or attracts customers that are too sick, it can suffer losses. That can be a particular risk in new markets ... If one of the largest and presumably, by reputation and experience, the most sophisticated of the health plans out there can’t make money on the exchanges, then one has to question whether the exchange as an institution is a viable enterprise,” Skolnick said.
Jaw dropping? We're not talking about health care, we're talking about insurance companies being profitable on the stock exchange. Like many of the bigger more well known insurers, they probably overpriced their policies, and didn't get the kind of business they were counting on.
While UnitedHealth has been slower than some of its rivals to sell Obamacare policies, the announcement may indicate that other insurers are struggling, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Mizuho Securities.
The point is, health care might collapse due to lower than expected profits for shareholders on Wall Street, not because people needed a doctor or hospital. Profits!!! Insurance is a care isn't:
“The company is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment..."
While UnitedHealth gets its doom and gloom day in the headlines, other big insurers are saying just the opposite, seeing money in their future:
“It’s way too early to call it quits on the ACA and on the exchanges,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said on an Oct. 29 conference call. “We view it still as a big opportunity for the company.”
Just watch the clip from Bloomberg News, and you'll see how profits take president over keeping people healthy. You'll be especially disappointed to know you won't see the promotional material, and damn it, none of those wonderfully high commissions for the sales people:
Bloomberg guest: "They have stopped putting promotional material behind their plans they're selling this year. They're not going to be paying high commissions to the people they have selling these plans on the markets..."

This isn't health care, it's insurance!!! The following is even better, suggesting an eventual single payer system, and the absurdity of "choosing" the amount of coverage to save money:

My conservative friend tipped me off to the above clips. Despite having watched them, he never notice the profit motive.


  1. You don't think doctors and hospitals have to make money to stay in business? Of course healthcare is a product. If it is not profitable to provide healthcare then a lot of people will get out of the business of providing it. Doctors expect to be paid for their work. Considering most doctors are several hundred thousands of dollars in debt when leaving medical school then I think it is safe to assume they expect to make a lot of money for their services.

    If hospitals don't at least break even how can you expect them to continue to offer care? How do they pay their employees? Purchase supplies? Maintain facilities?

  2. Doctors are "products." We need them when we're sick. We may choose a doctor, but we don't buy them, we don't shop for them. We don't pay for them, we pay for their service when we're sick, injured or whatever.

    We shop for insurance, which doesn't provide medical service or care. We can't shop within an insurance policy, there's nothing free market about it, nothing about choice either.

    Doctors make money, have people who work for them, and pay for all this by treating people. We don't shop for how they're going to treat us either.

    You have a bought into the shopping meme, which doesn't make any sense. The only time we really shop is when we want a "cosmetic" or optional treatment, like cataract lens replacement, joint replacement etc.

    The story doesn't disgust you? The focus on profit and investor expectations? Amazing.