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Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Profit and Loss



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Liberals are salivating at the news that Anthem Blue Cross of California has raised some policyholders’ premiums by up to 39 percent. They are hoping this will provide emergency resuscitation to the critically wounded cause of government-run health care.    But let’s put this news into perspective. In the most recent Fortune 500 rankings, America’s ten largest health insurance companies made $8 billion in annual profits — combined. Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post and 60 Minutes, Medicare loses $60 billion each year to fraud.    So, let’s indulge the Left’s fantasy that this up-to-39-percent increase in certain policyholders’ premiums is mostly driven by Anthem’s desire to upgrade their executives’ country-club memberships, ignoring more reasonable explanations such as those advanced by John Graham. You’d have to add an awful lot of padding to profits in order to bump $8 billion up anywhere near $60 billion.    How does Medicare — the federal government’s flagship health-care program, which is drifting toward disaster — manage to lose $60 billion in American taxpayers’ money each year? This recent exchange from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which refers specifically to Medicaid (the other flagship federal health-care program), touches on the subject:

Next Gingrich:  “. . . let me give you an example:  Medicaid in Florida certified five pizza parlors as HIV/AIDS transfusion centers.   [Slight pause]   Jon Stewart:  “Okay, that’s not good.”   [Talking over each other]   Gingrich:  “Good, see, I knew that we . . .”   Steward:  “. . . I’m not gonna argue that . . .”   Gingrich:  “. . . I knew we could find a common ground here.”


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