Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something To Think About - Where Does All That Lobbying Money Come From?

Well, we know that the incessant inundation of our congresspeople with torrents of lobbying money has hamstrung any attempts to get a 'robust public option' into the dialogue, much less single-payer, which is what would really make the difference in giving every American access to decent, affordable health care.

But let's take this question a bit further.

Let's see...

What do insurance companies do?

One definition is "pooling the resources of a large group to pay for the losses of a small group." In health care terms, this would involve taking money (premiums) from a large group of people, and paying the medical bills (losses) of a small group of people - that is, people who are ill, which are a smaller sub-group within any given group of people - with that money. The insurance company makes determinations about how much money they will need to cover these medical expenses by calculating the odds that a certain percentage of people are going to have medical expenses at any given time, and that furthermore, they estimate which of those people will be more likely to need medical care by calculating age range, medical histories and other criteria, and charge premiums according to who is most likely to need care. The larger and more diverse the pool of customers, the lower the overall cost of covering these losses.

Every business has income and expenses, and hopefully, profit.

For insurance companies, the expenses are:
  • the medical bills they pay on behalf of their customers
  • employees' salaries
  • building and infrastructure overhead
  • administrative costs
(I'm sure I've left out plenty, but this is a very broad overview)

And their income?
  • customer premiums
Out of the customer premiums, all these business expenses need to be paid - including whatever is left over, which goes to profit for the shareholders of the company.

So - what you and I pay to the insurance company is the only income they have. Everything else is outgo.

Oh, gosh - it seems I've left out an expense!

I forgot about - lobbying!

Yes - your insanely high health insurance premium is what the insurance company lobbyists use to donate to your congressperson's campaign fund, to get their ear and convince them to vote against a public option and to not even consider single-payer!

That is where all that lobbying money comes from! You and me.

While they're taking our money to deny us care, they use our money to insure that nothing changes! All those billions of lobby dollars did not come from anywhere else but our pockets - and they're being used against us to literally destroy our lives if we should be so unlucky as to fall ill - while paying an enormous percentage of our income to these same insurance companies. The money that could be used to pay our medical bills so we don't lose our homes and go bankrupt instead goes to persuade Congress to allow them to keep stealing from us to give their CEOs multi-million-dollar salaries and a fat return for their shareholders.

It's the same way with the credit card companies - they get the money they use to influence Congress into screwing us over directly out of our pockets.

And an insurance bill without a public option is merely forcing all Americans to buy insurance, whether they can afford it or not - what a gift for the insurance companies! Millions of new customers to fleece! And bought and paid for, as usual, by you and me.

We're not rocket scientists here at Hooterville, but we can put 2 and 2 together.

Just something to think about.


Comrade Kevin said...

I understand, but most people are too short-sighted to understand when they're being royally f**ked.

nunya said...

Hi love. You have seen Bill Moyers interview the ex-CEO of Cigna, haven't you? Wendell Potter is my health care hero. I'm watching it again to find the part where he speaks of increasing profits and the concurrent lower percentage of premiums spent on actual patient care. (around 22 minutes in)

Also telling is the exposure of the myth of the "free market."

California is the worst at enabling health insurance companies who should be be liable under the Sherman anti-trust laws, BUT they are exempt by law.