Thursday, February 25, 2010

Code Blue! What is Anthem Blue Cross thinking?!!

Many of you have heard of the astounding rate increase that Anthem Blue Cross, a division of WellPoint, is trying to charge customers in California. This 29% increase, Anthem says, is necessary to continue to provide coverage and pay claims.

Yesterday, the president of WellPoint, Angela Braly, was grilled, roasted and seared on Capitol Hill. When the committee asked about her salary she told them that she gets $1.1 Million per year, bonuses, and stock compensation of $8.5 Million. The company made 4.2 Billion last year. The company said its profit margin was reasonable, since it lagged behind drug companies, medical supply and equipment manufactures and was about the same profit as hospitals.

Today the California Dept. of Insurance charged Anthem with 700 state violations after reviewing some 3,000 complaints from consumers. Anthem is also being sued by a man who Anthem denied coverage for a life saving liver transplant operation.

You can read the Claims Journal article Here.

All this on the day of President’s Obama’s health care summit. I wonder if there will be any headway. Last year, I thought the Senate had a pretty good plan going. People would qualify for Medicare earlier; people could still have private insurance, the reforms placed on health insurers where good for the public. Then in the course of one night, they destroyed the whole plan!!

I think we should do this:

Dissolve the congressional health care plan. Make them go out and buy insurance like the rest of us. Then, perhaps, they might stop all the back room deals, all the arguing, all the Not In My State bickering, and pass a universal health care bill that makes sense.

For those of you who fear that health care would be rationed under such a plan, it’s being rationed now. If you are not flat broke, you don’t qualify for Medicare yet, and you have a health problem, you have few to zero workable options. You are the working poor. You have money taken out of your paycheck to pay for health care for other folks, but not you.

Universal health care may not be the best option. Congress and the President could commit to something unworkable. We might have to revise whatever they pass in 2 years. It will, I hope, get these insane costs under control and make health care accessible to all and affordable. Not to mention, reforming the medical industry and the medical insurance industry. You must curb the costs for hospitals, drug makers and equipment manufactures and insurance companies. Otherwise runaway business practices and their associated charges will doom our great nation to being unable to take care of its citizens.