The insurance companies dug their own grave with their arrogant reversal on what they promised Obama. Not unlike what they do to their clients daily. Time to take their own medicine?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned insurance companies on Thursday that health-care reform could cost the industry dearly through new fees, fewer regulatory protections and fresh competition from the federal government.

The blunt admonition echoed a round of harsh statements Wednesday from senior Senate Democrats, and came in response to the insurance’s lobby’s aggressive campaign to block reform legislation from advancing. An internal industry study released earlier this week found that the Senate reform bill would cause premiums to rise sharply, but the report’s findings have been widely disputed.

The tactic now appears to have backfired, as Democrats vow to redouble their efforts to crack down on insurer’s practices. Health-care negotiators are working behind closed doors to merge different pieces of legislation into separate bills that are expected to reach the House and Senate floors next month.

“It is absolutely clear that it is an unsustainable situation as we go forward, and it is well known to the public that the health insurance companies are the problem,” said Pelosi.

Pelosi said the House may adopt a Senate provision that would assess a flat fee on insurance companies that is expected to generate about $40 billion over 10 years, as a way to pay for its reform bill. She advocated House language that would require health-insurance companies to to spend 85 cents of every dollar they collect in premiums on benefits.

  1. tcc3 says:

    Phydeau – If they decided on an argument, they couldn’t make up a new specious counter point for every point.

  2. LibertyLover says:

    #36, You beat me to it.

    Did you notice these three little words in Pelosi’s warning? “fewer regulatory protections”

    The government has been protecting these big companies all along. I am surprised it has taken people this long to realize it.

    If we were to remove the special protections and regulations that make it hard for start ups to compete with these guys, the prices will have no option BUT to come down or they’ll go out of business.

  3. tcc3 says:

    Yes, im sure there are people just champing at the bit to “start up” a new company at the cost of billions of dollars who’s mission is to make less profit so people get adequate health care.

    I’m sure there’s big investors lining up for that too.

    This is not an appropriate use of the for profit system as it is not a fair market.

  4. freddybobs68k says:

    # 36 Misanthropic Scott

    Well that is interesting – and they should remove the exemption for sure.

    How about having employees have the option to have the same amount of money payed as salary as being paid to the health insurers? In that way it makes the amount of money the employee is losing transparent. And it means there can be more of a ‘free market’ – as it allows the money to be controlled by the employee not the company.

    Has some wrinkles if a company self insurers, but the equivalent amount could be calculated with a simple formula.

    I think a big part of the problem, is that people don’t see the amount they are losing under the current arrangement. And because most people get health insurance via their employer, its not a free market at all.

  5. Rabble Rouser says:

    Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?
    Screw the freakin’ insurance companies. They have been screwing us for too long. They raise rates, and skim 40% off the top for their own coffers, then when you do get REALLY sick or injured, they deny you coverage, because of a “pre-existing condition.” Yeah, right, LIFE is a pre-existing condition to those bass turds. All they want is your money, and they don’t want to give you too much care, because it might interrupt their profit margin. Suck it up guys.
    I sure hope the party’s over for these parasites.

  6. MikeN says:

    Bobbo, you get less overhead if you spend less money targeting fraud, waste, and abuse.

    How is Medicare going to cut these items which everyone is promising they will without spending more money? Add 50 billion or more to the insurance companies’ payouts and take away their claims reviewers, and I’m sure their administration costs will drop too.

  7. bobbo, international pastry chef and healthcare expert says:

    #46–Mike==you getting bored? You start making stuff up when bored.

    I’m not “sure” but I think study after study shows that a dollar spent in anti-fraud activities returns more than a dollar in savings===so, you are wrong. Wrong on MediCare Overhead expenses as well as Private Ins Co. So far wrong, not worth the effort to school you. Nice try though.

    Why do you hate sick people? /// and healthy people that haven’t tried to use their insurance? /// and american exporters who are at international disadvantage having to include healthcare costs in their products? /// etc?

  8. Mr. Fusion says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that the Health Care Insurance industry likes to lie so much. And so many wing nuts fall for it and parrot the lies.

    The best, and cheapest, solution is a single payer system like Canada. Allow the present insurance companies to offer insurance for things not covered by a government run system, such as dental, drugs, supplies, financial compensation, etc.

    Don’t even waste time with a hybrid system of government / co-op / private bullshit.

    In my opinion the insurance companies have done nothing to earn any respect. They were built on their subscribers money, not shareholders money. If they were all dismantled tomorrow, I would cheer.

  9. OvenMaster says:

    If the insurance companies raise their premiums in order to pass on higher costs and still keep acceptable profit margins to please stockholders, wouldn’t that potentially mean that even more people would qualify for premium assistance from Uncle Sugar?

    In other words, we taxpayers would STILL foot the bill.

  10. ECA says:

    we ALL pay for it one way or another..
    Those that get it free(??), the insurance corp raises the prices.. JUST so the guys on top dont loose wages..

    wouldnt it be better if ALL of us, PAID into the medical benefits??

    AS it would be nice that ALL the rich pay into Social security AND if they want better retirement PAY for the retirement fund ALSO..

    When the cost of medical for a 1 week stay can HURT your check…Its a bad thing.
    When the LASt thing you want is to Loose a couple hours at work…ITS a bad thing.
    When you worry more about the cost of your kid riding a BIKE and breaking an ARM…Its a bad thing.
    When your teeth ROT out, as your company doesnt cover DENTAL…its a bad thing.
    When you loose a job, because your EYES NEED HELP, and there is no eye/glasses coverage…ITS A BAD THING.

    To give you an idea, I will say that I KNOW the cost of Glasses FRAMES, and the cost of lenses.. I can tell you that you could FIT and give EVERY PERSON in the USA a pair, for under $20 EACH and still make a VERY good profit.

  11. Uncle Patso says:

    # 39 deowll:
    Requiring insurance for non catastrophic events shoves up the cost of insurance.

    I just do not get that statement; the logic of it totally escapes me. I suppose if everybody has to buy insurance, the insurance companies will have to hire more people to administer all those new policies…

    – - – - -

    The big question I have is what happened to all the mutual insurance companies? (Ones owned by their policyholders, not shareholders.) Also, who decided it was a good idea to allow for-profit companies to buy up all the religious-run and other non-profit hospitals? They used to be all over the place and now they’re all gone, or being run “under contract” by for-profit companies. How did this happen and why wasn’t it all over the news?

  12. Glenn E. says:

    Health Insurers heal thyself. Ha! When it all hits the fan, don’t come crawling to the government for a bail out, without conditions you feel might cramp your style.

  13. GetReal says:

    If you think we have anything like free enterprise in our health insurance industry, read this – if you have the guts.

    Pay special attention to #5 you free enterprise dupes!

  14. RSweeney says:

    Uncle Dave, imagine your anger had the Bush administration had a secret deal with insurers (and drug companies) for legislation in exchange for advertising in support or mere silence.

    Chicago-style corruption is now the new center.
    Change indeed.

  15. MikeN says:

    Bobbo, I was talking about overhead. Money spent on anti-fraud, counts as overhead, while money saved due to anti-fraud means a lower base from which to work with, so even more spent on overhead.

    Say Medicare is spending 300 billion and 15 billion on overhead. 5% administration costs.

    If Medicare then spend 5 billion and roots out 10 billion in waste, they now have 20 billion overhead on 290 billion in claims, 6.9% administration costs.

    The insurance companies have higher overhead because they go after the claims.

  16. Pla says:

    Difference with car insurance is I can decide I don’t need or can’t afford a car. I can’t decide not to live…

    Actually, even car insurance is not required – you have the option to hold $25000 as your own liability instead of buying insurance.

  17. Randy says:

    Folks, I wouldn’t worry too much. Big Pharma (Merck, J&J, etc) hasn’t been innovating for some time and biotech will soon be offshored, in addition to software support and core R&D. I wouldn’t too much about the private sector economy, as for the most part, finance will be the only thing left in America. All and all, it’ll be like the whole nation working for a hedge fund.