American Proscenium

Insuring Profits

That cry you heard on the night of March 21, when the 216th vote was cast in favor of President Obama’s “healthcare reform,” was the sound of insurance executives rejoicing before lighting their cigars with $1,000 bills.  As Time reported on March 24, “Health insurers have long argued for tougher government mandates that would require more of those who are generally healthy to get health insurance, which helps spread the risk in the pool of insured.”  “Spreading the risk” is actuarial-speak for “increasing profits.”  Just as Big Pharma was the chief beneficiary of President Bush’s Medicare prescription coverage bill, so Big Insurance has Barack Obama to thank for their coming years of plenty.

And thank him they will, as well as the senators and congressmen who voted for the bill.  But don’t worry about those who voted against it; the insurance companies will hold no grudges.  They will spread their newfound wealth throughout the halls of Congress to ensure that no future healthcare reform will undermine their privileged position.

Of course, the Republicans who opposed the bill knew that, which is why they spent all of their time talking about abortion and other side issues rather than attacking the biggest corporate-welfare plan in American history.  When all is said and done, this gift to the insurance companies will dwarf the bailouts of the...

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