Wednesday :: Feb 10, 2010

Who's The Next CEO?

by Deacon Blues

California's subsidiary of Anthem Blue Cross (ABC) felt so secure that the industry had successfully once again killed health care reform that it decided to jack up some individual rates by nearly 40% effective March 1st. The company had just reported billions in quarterly profits, and was savaging individual policy holders for another gouging after raising rates on some of the same policies nearly 70% last year. And yet ABC felt no shame or concern over the timing of doing this right after the industry was reported to have flat-out bribed Congress with millions of dollars to kill reform.

Well, I doubt United, Cigna, and the other monsters of the industry are happy with ABC now, because both the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are ready to make an example of ABC. Worse yet, someone as corporate-friendly as Dianne Feinstein was prompted to call for rate regulation in California and a repeal of the industry's anti-trust exemption (yes, Dianne Feinstein).

The laughable part of this is that ABC has previously said that medical costs increases forced them to gouge individuals and businesses to this degree. Yet there is no section of the cost chain, not hospitals nor drugs nor technology that have increased their costs anything near this over the last several years to support such plunder.

It would be swell if the Democrats on Capitol Hill were ruthless enough to take advantage of this gift and force the GOP to defend the industry and fight off new efforts at strong reform, but I'm not holding my breath for that. For now, I'm simply in awe at ABC's incredibly insensitive and politically hamhanded timing in snatching defeat from the industry's jaws of victory.

Deacon Blues :: 3:51 PM :: Comments (5) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!