An inconvenient truth

Originally posted June 2009:
The tide has turned on our economy.
Millions of Americans are out of work.  The real estate market is in the toilet and consumer confidence is at an all  time low.
Our nation’s current economic picture is very similar to what was  happening in 1930s Germany, a country that was especially hit hard by the Depression that also rocked America in 1929.

The time is ripe to rise up  against the corporations. You know those legalized collections of people who
like to make a profit. It seems profit is a bad thing now.

In the midst of all this economic crisis, our country is focused upon “reforming” our nation’s health care system.

Many people, it seems, are fed up with the greedy insurance companies that would rather focus on profits than healing the  sick. But just beyond the sound bites and the rhetoric there are some  inconvenient truths.

Take, for example, the following nuggets of  information that you will not hear from the folks at Change For America or Michael Moore, a man who is making a pretty penny on his latest movie, which did not
use union workers.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ study, in 2007 health plans had an average profit margin of 3% (THREE  PERCENT)

According to a study by RAND Health for the California  HealthCare Foundation “…medical costs explain nearly 89 percent of [health plan]  revenue increases.”

According to Kaiser Health News (not exactly a bastion of conservative thought), “the major causes of health care’s escalating  costs are the rising prices and the increased use of medical services, including hospital stays, prescription drugs, new technologies and doctor  visits.”

According to CMS data, over 40 years, the real costs of private health insurance have grown at an annual rate of 5.2 percent. Benefits, as  measured by the cost of health care services to members, have grown at real rate  of 5.3 percent over the same time period. Administrative costs have grown more slowly, at a real rate of about 4.9 percent since 1966.

According to Kaiser Health News, “With the nation’s health care spending estimated at $2.5  trillion this year, even the elimination of insurers’ profits and executive  compensation would lower health care spending by just 0.5 percent.”

In 2006, health plan profits of the top 10 for profit health plans accounted for 0.5%of total health care spending; in 2007, 0.6%; and, in 2008, 0.5%.

Well, there you go.

There’s no question that our current system  needs reform and that working Americans should have access to adequate and safe  health care, but Congress ought to focus on solving the problem.

Don’t hold your breath. It  will never happen because it requires leadership, not class warfare rhetoric.

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