A report published on CNN by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association states that “Obamacare patients are sicker and costlier than employee sponsored plans.” Â I am sure, for those that continue to want to bury the Affordable Care Act will jump all over this as “proof” of how bad the ACA is overall. Â But, if you really look at it objectively (and honestly), it is telling you the exact opposite. Â It in fact highlights the games that the insurance companies are playing and how they are ruining people’s lives in the name of profits.
The article complains of the older and more chonic illness sufferers that are members through the exchange. Â They state this as if it is a surprise. Â But, people who were kicked off of plans previously for “pre-exiting conditions,” and those that are out of work (a segment of which are out of work due to health issues) are precisely the people this was intended to help. Â But instead of looking at the big picture of being able to spread those costs over a much bigger pool of policy holders, they segregate them, look at the profits of that section through a myopic lens and say, “we don’t want the less profitable people.”
Prior to the days of the ACA, the problem was, these same people then didn’t have insurance at all, and would be unable to pay their medical bills. Â This of course was the excuse that hospitals used to raise their rates, saying they had to account for uninsured and those that defaulted on their bills. Â We no longer have that problem. Â So, the “expense” that these people cause actually winds up creating a savings in the long run because hospitals no longer have to charge to cover the uninsured, meaning the insurance companies will pay out less for care. Â (I would say that costs should go down, but I am sure that the hospitals will not lower their charges even though they no longer need to account for the uninsured) But as I said, that is “over the long run,” and nobody cares about anything beyond, the next quarter’s earnings report.
Speaking of which, the article specifically names United Healthcare. Â It mentions it in a way that suggests United Healthcare is having financial problems because of the ACA. Â But ironically, the very same day, analyst reports list United Healthcare as a “stock to watch” with a share price of more than $120 per share with an estimated upside of $170 per share on an EPS of more than $6.80 per share last year. Â So, let us not blind ourselves into crying for United Healthcare (or any other health insurance company) and believing these companies are in peril because of the ACA. Â The only thing that may now be in peril is the CEO’s third yacht or they won’t be able to trade up to the latest Lear Jet to get around simply because they do not wish to accept any policyholder that might actually file a claim.
These insurance companies have been sucking the public dry, with premiums more than tripling from 1998 – 2007, while at the same time, refusing or lowering payment on medications and refusing or dropping people when they actually need their insurance the most. Â They are the robber barons of the 21st century, and they want you to feel sorry for them because their profits aren’t high enough. Â It had to stop. And while the ACA was watered down to a point where it is less than ideal, this report shows exactly why even in a weakened state we NEED this in place, and why it actually should be expanded, not removed.