We hear about it everyday on the news: millions of Americans go without health insurance, particularly those with the “preexisting condition” stigma attached to their name or medical file. Moreover, as more Americans found themselves unemployed for the first time in perhaps decades, they struggled to pay their COBRA premiums. Finally, the worst news of all is that thousands died because they were uninsured and unable to get the medical attention they so desperately needed.
Surely you’ve heard about Blue Cross’s ridiculous 39% hike on some of their individual policy premiums. What’s even worse is that Anthem Blue Cross of California couldn’t even justify their increase as reasonable or necessary. Instead they argued that their profit margins were in-line with other competing health insurers and that they were actually losing money on many individual policies sold in California.
Needless to say, Secretary of Health and Human Service, Kathleen Sebelius, wasn’t impressed with their explanation, especially since records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the top five major insurance companies posted profits for 2009 that were significantly higher than 2008. In fact, according to a report released yesterday by the group Health Care for America Now, the nation’s five biggest insurance companies made $12 billion in profits last year, but dropped 2.7 million people from their insurance roles. So while Obama was accused of being a “socialist” because of his desire to expand health coverage to all Americans, health insurance companies are doing a much better job of killing the free enterprise system that this country’s economy is based upon. That is, the free enterprise system is supposed to be about selling more to earn more, not taking people off insurance roles and raising costs on the people that are left. But, alas, I suppose that would mean that the top five insurance companies stop using the “preexisting condition” motto to prevent those Americans who really need health care from purchasing insurance from them.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.