House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has fought for affordable medical insurance and care.
The health insurance industry is raking in profits on the backs of consumers who are increasingly forgoing medical care due to economic concerns, though that hasn’t stopped big insurers from drastically raising premiums. The trend is not new: The per-employee cost of PPO coverage for a family of four has doubled since 2002. Meanwhile, about 15 percent of Americans don’t have health insurance at all. As lawmakers, lobbyists and lawyers continue to squabble about health care reform, Americans are suffering and insurers are sucking them dry. —KDG
New York Times:
The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. In reporting its earnings last week, Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use.
Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care.
Even with a halting economic recovery, doctors and others say many people are still extremely budget-conscious, signaling the possibility of a fundamental change in Americans’ appetite for health care.