Monday, August 24, 2009

Making Progress on Health Care Reform

From the Chicago Tribune today:
The half-dozen leading proposals in Congress would require all citizens to have health insurance, guaranteeing insurers tens of millions of new customers, many of whom would get government subsidies to help pay the companies' premiums. At the same time, these proposals would limit government's potential role as competitor and regulator.

"The insurers are going to do quite well," said Linda Blumberg, a health policy analyst at the non-partisan Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank. "They are going to have this very stable pool, they're going to have people getting subsidies to help them buy coverage and ... they will be paid the full costs of the benefits that they provide, plus their administrative costs."

UnitedHealth Group, the top U.S. insurer by sales, last month reported that revenue grew to $21.7 billion in the three months ended in June, compared with $20.3 billion from the year-ago period.
While frustrating, this story misses another even more powerful lobby than the insurance industry: AARP. We should not forget that AARP made $497.6 million (43% of its $1.17 billion in revenues) from royalties in 2007 (the last year 'non-profit' tax data are published), much of it garnered by attaching their name to insurance products for people over the age of 50.

No wonder we're making such real progress on health care reform.


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