12
Feb
10

Ripping off the sick and disabled

I have Blue Cross insurance and saw an article today about my insurer Anthem (Blue Cross) raising their premium costs  by 27 percent effective March 1st.  The LA times in the Business Section (note not in the health section) reports  “As the Nation struggled last year with the rising healthcare costs and a recession, the five largest health insurance companies racked up combined profits of 12.2 billion – up 56% of 2008.”

At this point I feel almost as ripped off as I did when the government bailed out Wall Street.  Healthcare costs are completely out of control.  I know this firsthand as recently I had one of my children go in for a wound and was billed $548 for an adhesive bandage (a common bandaid)  and some Neosporin®.

In a New York Times story that relates to the rising costs of medical treatment, drug manufacturers have been shown to be raising their prices by up to 499 percent.  But not all the increases are straight from drug manufacturers, as Gardiner Harris writes: “In more than half of the cases disclosed by investigators, the price increases were made by a middleman that bought the medicines from manufacturers and repackaged them for hospitals or doctors.” (see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/business/11price.html?ref=health for the full story)  Then in another Times article, the reason for the rising prices is the industries expectation that their profits will go down as the National Health Care Bill is implemented.  In a November 16th, 2009 article Duff Wilson writes “In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/business/16drugprices.html?fta=y)

So once again the greed of corporations trump the philanthropy of humanity.  The rich get richer off the sick getting sicker.   The insurance companies who claim they have to raise prices rarely even look at claims by patients who say that the services billed to their insurer were inaccurate or fraudulent.  It really looks like the three are all scheming to get all the green out of our wallets.  Each overbilling us – hospitals,  insurers and doctors.  All men are created equal, they are all robbed from.  And it doesn’t matter which direction you go with this.  Healthcare is filled with fraud.  Here are some examples:

USA Today: Little progress seen against health insurance fraud

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-28-health-care-insurance-fraud_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Reuters:  Global healthcare fraud costs put at $260 billion

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60H01620100118

LA Times:  California cracks down on discount health plans

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-discount-health8-2010feb08,0,1201634.story

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