Status Quo Is Best Scenario For Insurance Company Profits

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LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, GUEST HOST (voice-over): The longer you ponder the problem of achieving universal health care coverage in this country, the more you realize that Congressman Anthony Weiner, Dennis Kucinich and about 100 of their colleagues are right; the more realize that the late Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Ted Kennedy were right. The best, cheapest, indeed the only the only way to get to universal coverage is by extending Medicare to everyone.

But because Democrats gave the biggest health care profiteers a place at the bargaining table, they are fighting to protect their profits. You can’t really blame them. Their executives’ allegiance is to shareholders, not patients. Well, their strongest allegiance is to their absurdly oversized and utterly undeserved pay packages. And so, it has always been and always will be.

David Brennan, CEO of pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, gave notice today to "Huffington Post" that big pharma’s tenuous support for health care reform will revert to forceful opposition if anything like the House health care bill emerges as the final package.

You may recall, big pharma struck a deal with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee that health care reform would not empower the government to pay the cheapest possible price for drugs. The House bill does not observe that deal.

And then there is United Health, whose lethal pursuit of profit has been chronicled before on this program. With reform options narrowing as we — as we near release of the Senate bill, the group Consumer Watchdog reports that United has once again e-mailed its 75,000 employees, asking them voluntarily, of course, to lobby the Senate against including a public option.

The motive for all of this already obvious, but laid bare in a new study from Goldman Sachs which concludes that the House bill would actually reduce insurance company earnings. Under the Senate Finance Committee bill, earnings would rise by a healthy 5 percent, which Goldman Sachs, of course, considers disastrously meager.

The best scenario for insurance company profits? No prize for guessing this time — status quo. Killing health care reform is the best profit plan for the insurance companies once again.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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