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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/17/10

Pity the Poor Chief Lobbyist for the Health Insurance Companies

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Pity poor Karen Ignani, chief health insurance lobbyist, who must have her fingernails chewed down to the quick worrying about her big bonus.

Everything now hangs on Congress passing the "healthcare reform" bill she has worked so hard to get enacted. She has zigged and zagged, done whatever it takes to get this bill passed. She knows if it passes she will be rewarded generously for doing a bang-up job.

After all, this bill gives insurance companies tens of millions of new customers by forcing everyone to buy health insurance or face penalties for breaking Federal law; it delivers directly to insurers $500 billion of public money extracted from federal taxpayers, state taxpayers, and Medicare beneficiaries; and it enables insurers to sell still higher priced policies for still greater profits.

It's always called "healthcare reform", but it would be more accurate to call it "profit protection for health insurance companies."

It allows the insurers to continue marking up the cost of healthcare by 45%. For each $100 of actual healthcare they receive, policy holders pay $145. That markup costs them, in total, $1 billion per day, over $3 trillion per decade. Except for risk pooling, worth maybe 3%, the 45% markup delivers no added value to policy holders, only the hassle and heartache of treatment denials.

Getting passage of something so blatantly contrary to the interests of the electorate is obviously a major accomplishment, even with the six lobbyists per Congressperson Karen was given the wherewithal to send scurrying around Washington with satchels full of cash. Up from the usual four.

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A serial entrepreneur, cofounder of three high tech companies and an avid multihull sailor.

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