The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Health Insurance:
Less Care, More Profit

Aug 31, 2009

More than 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance. Millions more are losing coverage because of layoffs and cutbacks. But health insurance companies are not worried.

At least not the big ones. “We would be willing to forgo membership if necessary. We have a clear bias toward profitability over growth,” said Aetna CEO Ron Williams.

They sure do. In the second quarter of 2009, Aetna reported a profit of 347 million dollars. During the same three months, Cigna’s profit was 313 million. The “non-profit” insurance arm of Kaiser made a profit of 620 million. And UnitedHealth outdid all of these industry giants, with a quarterly profit of 859 million dollars!

Huge profits in a shrinking market – what’s the trick?

Very simple. The insurers have been increasing premiums and co-pays, and cutting back on coverage – thus depriving even more people of health care in the process.

When health care is provided for a profit, we get less and less of it.