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Politicians Are Out Of Touch

Business as usual I guess.

In the Boston Globe (8/4), columnist Derrick Z. Jackson notes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) comments on the insurance industry last week, during which she called them "the villains in" the healthcare reform debate "with their 'exorbitant profits.' She charged, 'they have been immoral all along how they have treated the people that they insure."

Great sound bite and certainly it will get some people's blood boiling. But let's look at some truth here.

In Ms. Pelosi's home state of California, there are currently seven health insurance carriers selling individual & family plans to the public state-wide. They are:

Anthem Blue Cross (formerly Blue Cross of California)
Blue Shield of California
Health Net of California
Kaiser Permanente
Assurant Health
PacifiCare (UHC)

Of those seven carriers, four are not California-based carriers (Aetna, Anthem BC, Assurant and PacifiCare/UHC (now owned by UHC))

That leaves 3 domestic health insurance companies in the state of California (Blue Shield, Kaiser and Health Net).

Of those 3 carriers, 2 are NOT FOR PROFIT carriers--Kaiser and Blue Shield CA. So, it looks like in Nancy Pelosi's home state, 2/3 of the domestic health insurance carriers (and 1/3 of all carriers) are no allowed to operate and take "exorbitant profits".

When 2/3 of domestic health insurance carriers in a state are operating without profit motive, I fail to see how they can be labeled as "villains" who are taking "exorbitant profits".


  1. I agree. Kaiser can be a pain but I don't see their staff or owners taking huge profits. I've spoken with a lot of the managers there and they seem to have pretty normal pay scales.


    Truck Insurance

  2. Recent data I have seen indicate that health insurers profit margins run right around 3%. That is very low relative to other industries.


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