– The one chart that proves Obamacare really is working (for the fascists) (ZeroHedge, April 14, 2015):
With the election cycle starting up again, we are going to be bombarded more and more with propaganda like this: 7 Charts That Prove Obamacare Is Working
I submit to you that, below, is the one chart that proves Obamacare really is working (for the fascists).
Since the Obama administration began pushing the healthcare reform bill in early 2009, the stock prices of the Big Five health insurers have done remarkably well, even vs. the S&P 500, and even without taking into account their phenomenal dividend yields.
Question: How many patients did Cigna, BCBS (Anthem), Aetna, United Healthcare, or Cigna diagnose or treat last month? Last year?
Read my article from last year: You have health insurance, but you cannot afford surgery? You should have bought HUM stock.
These are insurance companies…they are by definition intermediaries…not medical providers. They don’t diagnose or treat anyone. They make money only by receiving premium payments, investing these payments, and by minimizing the physician reimbursements they make to the providers that actually provide healthcare.
The insurance companies and their captured regulatory body, CMS, set the prices paid to doctors, not the providers. The doctors have essentially zero negotiating power. In fact, the fee schedule attached to the physician’s contracts with the insurance companies is usually blank. No shit. Just think about the hubris of that for a while. Some large hospitals may have a little bit of negotiating power, in smaller markets, but not much.
In fact, the Senate is set to vote on a bill, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Though H.R. 2 was overwhelmingly passed in the House by a vote of 392 to 37, the Senate delayed its vote. If the Senate does not act before April 15 when the CMS will no longer hold claims, it will result in a 21 percent cut to physician reimbursements for Medicare, which will then rapidly reduce insurance company expenses when they follow suit by reducing their fee schedules, accordingly, but mark my words, if this happens it will not lower premiums, only raise the stock prices of the insurance companies.
So, the next time your congressman tells you that he is working to help reduce healthcare costs, ask the fascist how his Cigna stock is doing, and remember that the only surefire way to dramatically reduce healthcare costs is to remove the middlemen and allow market forces to return to healthcare.
Don’t agree with me? Try this. Call three local mechanics and ask how much an engine diagnosis and tune up costs. You will likely receive three prices over the phone to compare. No intermediary. Next, call three doctors and ask how much an examination, x-ray, and any simple procedure like a complete blood test costs. Good luck! If mechanics can have transparent and affordable market pricing, then so can doctors, but only without the intermediaries.