Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yeah, Sure, You Should Trust What the Insurance Industry Says...

and while you're at it I have some lovely, wooded, spacious ocean front property you might be interested in buying from me in Arizona.

In case you didn't hear, the insurance industry issued a "report". That "report" "revealed" that insurance rates would actually go up if Congress passed and President Obama signed insurance reform legislation. I don't find it surprising that a report written by the insurance industry would describe the terrible consequences of passing health insurance reform. I'll be honest, I didn't read the report, I don't think I need to, and I'll explain why through other examples, I also don't read/listen to the following:
1) movie reviews by the studios that produced the movies. 
2) book reviews by the author of a the book.
3) Glenn Beck raving about how great the 9/12 project is/was and how great the Tea Party is since he helped found and promote both and has profited financially from both.
4) anything Dick Cheney has to say about foreign policy, national security, torture, terrorism or Gitmo (because he and the previous administration did such a swell job on all of those issues).
5) anything Liz Cheney has to say about what her father Dick Cheney has said about foreign policy, national security, torture, terrorism or Gitmo (because her father and the previous administration did such a swell job on all of those issues).

but I digress...

Some potential problems/questions I have with the insurance industry's report that rates would go up if there is, in fact, reform passed:
1) Which version of the bill are they talking about? Remember there are at least 5 Senate versions in various Senate committees as well as whatever comes out of the House.
2) What if the legislation prohibits insurance companies from raising rates? Are they just going to break the law and raise rates anyway?
3) What if there is indeed a public option? Would the insurance industry put themselves out of business and raise rates while there is a more inexpensive public option? Would that be a bad thing?
4) What if there is a "trigger" for a public option in a reform bill that is passed. Is the insurance industry promising that they will raise rates and bring about a public option? Given this scenario, I say, "raise rates!"
5) What if people realized that the insurance industry wrote a report critical of health insurance reform?

And surprise, surprise, at least one former insurance industry insider has already declared that this report is "bogus." Are you really surprised?

Maybe the insurance industry fat cats are getting seriously worried that a bill will actually make it to President Obama's desk and the release of this "report" is the first sign of desperation. What else can the big insurance companies do? They've already used their record profits to line the pockets of any politician that will take their money and utter nonsense like, "death panels." Maybe they're grasping at straws.

Who would just blindly believe what these insurance industry yahoos have to say about health insurance reform? Again, if you do believe their report I have some lovely ocean front property in Arizona you might like to purchase from me...


  1. Insurance companies hedging their bets with this report.

    If reform passes (it will) they can increase rates and say, see we told you reform would cause us to raise rates and reduce benefits.

    If it doesn't pass because of this report (super unlikely) they can continue to raise rates and reduce benefits like they have been.

    This report was a joke and complete shit. Not only are former insurance insiders saying the report is bogus, the accountants who put the report together admit the report is bogus because they left out all of the good stuff that would help the insured in their analysis.

    I like your point of "which bill". There are 5 and the Senate Finance bill is the most conservative of them all. If the insurance companies shot their wad with this report trying to stop this bill then good. It just means they have less ammunition for the final (more progressive) bill.

    BTW, as of yesterday my health insurance premiums for employee + family increased from $300/month to $500/month while at the same time raising the amount I have to pay out of pocket before insurance starts to pay from $1500 person/$3000 family to $3000 person/$9000 family.

    Looks like the insurance companies are doing a good enough job of raising rates without reform.

  2. Andrew, excellent point about health insurance rates already going up. My rates have gone up as well.

    And the thing is, insurance companies set and raise rates when they've made and have been making record profits. How many different ways can you spell lack of competition? And the insurance industry wonders why there is a groundswell of support for reform.

    And it's a double edged sword for employers, large and small. Do employers want to absorb the cost of increased rates as added overhead so that it doesn't take money out of their employees' pockets? Or do employers pass along the rate hikes, in part or all, to their employees? The former helps employers attract and keep employees they value. The latter helps employers' bottom line. Guess what option employers are likely to choose or feel forced to choose in tough financial times?