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History (of Health Insurance Greed) Repeats Itself


History (of Health Insurance Greed) Repeats Itself

Wendell Potter

On a Friday afternoon 16 years and four months ago, after the close of trading at the New York Stock Exchange, my staff and I at Cigna disseminated a press release we knew would lead to a lot of angst in Washington, on Wall Street and around the country.

Sure enough, the next Monday morning, June 5, 2000, The Wall Street Journal ran a big story under this daunting headline:

Cigna to Curb Medicare-HMO Risk; Move May Signal Industrywide Trend

These words followed:


Thanks for the 2017 ACA update, Wendell. Its always informative to hear from a credible source who knows where all the bodies are buried, presents only the facts, avoiding the hyperbole upon which most medical insurance articles float.

In 2018 (After the Obama's leave DC when daughter #2 graduates next June) one of the biggest ACA travesties kicks in with employer sponsored medical insurance being taxed. Currently the value of employers' costs and employees' contribution to premiums are not subject to federal income tax. Starting in 2018 both will be taxed, resulting in many employees' taxable income being higher than their gross salary/wages.


I hadn't heard that one, did a little Googling, and the so-called Cadillac tax is pushed back to 2020, not that that's a great comfort....


and would rather pay more to inefficient, bloated corporations than just have a govt agency handle it. :O)


Insuring a healthy profit


"... regardless of who wins, don’t bet against health insurance companies.
Chances are, they’ll win either way, and one way or another, most of us
will be paying even more for health care than we do today. Profits come
first in our health care system."

So says the man that gave a big wet sloppy kiss to Obamacare & democrats. It's probably political but why did it take Mr Potter 16 years to figure this out? I had high hopes for this guy, for once a man in the biz w/a conscience.

Big Insurance serves as an unnecessary middleman. Insurance is redundant. They take your check, skim 30-40% off the top and hand the rest over to your health care provider for services rendered. Most of the time they just take your check while keeping co-pays and yearly deductibles high to keep you from seeking medical care, that's how for-profit group insurance works. They make money when they keep you from using it.

It is long past time for the US to join the rest of the developed world. Taiwan instituted a national health care system (based on US medicare) in 1995 that is comprehensive, cradle to grave, covers everyone with no waiting lists or gatekeepers. It covers all medical, drugs, dental, Chinese medicine, home health care, etc. The cost is about 6% of GDP. From 1998-2012 life expectancy rose 4 years for males and 5 for females due to better care and outcomes. In the US we spend 20% of GDP on health care while most other countries spend 10% or less all with better results. Only an insurance CEO, Hillary or a fool would defend our current system. Even our Medicare is not great -- forcing those with additional funds to pay for Medi-gap insurance to cover what Medicare does not. Medicare in the US only covers select drugs and then at a certain percentage causing most to go without medicine or cut pills, there is no dental coverage and out-of-pocket costs are too high for seniors on limited incomes.


Nice comment, Lynn1.

"It is long past time for the US to join the rest of the developed world." I watched an old video of JFK speaking in Madison Square Garden in NYC, in 1962, and he said that very thing! 54 years ago!

The Democratic Party delivered ACA to us in 2010, with large majorities in both houses. What a terrible mistake.


U.S. health insurance companies do not contribute anything to health care. They are only a PARASITIC middle man taking a cut of "FREE MONEY".

That is one of the reasons I cannot vote for Hillary after she said we will NEVER, EVER have single payer universal heath care.

The days of credibly claiming that the status quo is the best we can do are over. Anyone that suggest such are lying.

The entire rest of the developed world does a better job with health care than the USA. The US system is entirely devoted to generating and preserving profit.

Heath Care should not be viewed as a commodity.


None of this should come as a surprise as I recall Obama telling a TV audience as he promoted the ACA on September 9, 2009: "Healthcare reform must preserve insurance company profits".

Insurance is a financial product, not a healthcare product. Private medical insurance is simply another form of extortion.