6/09/2009

Why is national health insurance so complicated?

If we are lucky, some half-baked, marginally noticable "national healthcare plan" will be in place at the end of this summer. Obama is clear that this won't be anything useful or make a slight dent on the fact that most US citizens are not covered for any major medical costs; "we may need a system that's not so disruptive that people feel like suddenly what they've known for most of their lives is thrown by the wayside." The last thing we need is a system that actually covers medical expenses after all these years of being refused by insurance companies for all of the medical expenses we pay medical insurance to cover.

Here's the real reason we won't be seeing meaningful national healthcare reform:

2008 Compensation Packages
Ron Williams - Aetna: $24,300,112 (down from a high of $124.8 million in 2005, poor Ronny)
H. Edward Hanway - CIGNA: $12,236,740
Angela Braly - WellPoint: $9,844,212
Dale Wolf - Coventry Health Care: $9,047,469
Michael Neidorff - Centene: $8,774,483
James Carlson - AMERIGROUP: $5,292,546
Michael McCallister - Humana: $4,764,309
Jay Gellert - Health Net: $4,425,355
Richard Barasch - Universal American: $3,503,702
Stephen Hemsley - UnitedHealth Group: $3,241,042

Add to this the personal use of a corporate aircraft and vehicle, as well as financial planning and 401(k) company matches and undetermined and undisclosed and often illegal benefits and bonuses ( stock-option back dating, continued benefits after retirement, ).

I've never heard of some of these companies and I'm sure their underserved customers wish they were in the same boat, but the CEOs of the most customer-hostile industry in the world are paid as if they actually contribute something useful to the company's bottom line. They don't. For example, the year Aetna flushed $124.8 mil down William's toilet, they paid a stock dividend of $0.03. So much for corporations working for the benefit of stockholders. Aetna would have been a half-decent investment that year if so much of the company's profits hadn't been wasted on useless executives.

Regardless, with that kind of spare change floating around Washington, we are not going to get any meaningful reform on healthcare. Honestly, I'd say that most Americans might as well admit we're living in a 3rd world country and plan on dying alone, broke, and without even medical marijuana to dull the pain. Unless you are rich, a US Senator or Representative, a government worker, or in prison you have no chance of receiving decent medical care without giving up your family's future and shipping yourself to debtor's prison. If you are in one of the protected groups, you are cared for by the finest socialized medical system in the world and the rest of us envy you.

My father-in-law once joked that if his military pension and medical coverage vanished, he'd just pick a politican to shoot and look forward to decent medical care in prison. Seems like there are more productive targets available, doesn't it? If, for example, Aetna didn't have to waste $24 to $125 mil on Williams--who is undoubtedly as useless as tits on a doorknob--the company could provide top-quality health insurance for about 2,500 to 14,000 families at a $750/month premium. Obviously, if the premium didn't have to support the equally useless and overpriced management boobs in the corner offices in Williams' building, even more people could have medical care.

The advantage to human beings having medical coverage vs. evil aliens receiving ridiculous salaries (which they no doubt send back to their home planets adding no value to the Earth economy) is obvious. Human beings do work, providing services and products for other human beings. CEO/COO/CIO/CTO/CMO/CFO/CEE and other C-labelled aliens waste resources depriving humans of food, shelter, and the necessities of life (such as medical care). If we could find a way to purge the planet of C-label executives, we might discover that there is more than enough money avaiable to solve all sorts of problems. Clearly the question is, "Where is Theodore John Kaczynski when we really need him?"

If President Obama is really unable to imagine a way to get around the defective healthcare insurance system we're currently suffering, he's not as bright as his fans claim. This is a simple issue: let the medical insurance companies find some other group of suckers to victimize and let's get on with resolving the biggest problem the nation faces. If Congress and the Senate feel this is too complicated for their simple minds to grasp, we should remind them that if they are so underemployed that they have time to worry about gun possession in national parks they have plenty of time to work on things that actually matter.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6/09/2009

    many DO get it. the system is corrupt and people in the system who had to play ball ares keptical. Then you have the idiot republicans who are religious for free-market thinking and worship their real profit (above all others:) Freedman.

    The media is corrupt the public misinformed and stupid. Few politicians can risk it all on stuff that seems hopeless--plus they know how the others act; its like they won't unless enough others speak up. catch 22. Plus a bunch are just corrupt...

    I think they need a HUGE push from people in their face--letting them know they are out of office if they dare oppose them.

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