Monday, March 15, 2010

Manufactured crises and demonized industries

Remember when gasoline was around $4 a gallon? Politicians wasted no time in rounding up oil company executives and bringing them before congressional committees to browbeat them, accuse them of greed and make sure the honorable members of congress were seen scowling into TV cameras for the folks back home.
They cited dollar amounts that EXXON raked in, neglecting to mention that these figures were gross income before expenses and federal taxes. The oil company execs didn’t set the price of oil--that was done on Wall Street and other world money markets by speculators. When the prices went down, the politicians didn’t round up the executives and publically pat them on the back. The truth of the matter is that EXXON paid the federal government in taxes more than they made in net profits.

In trying to get his ObamaCare takeover travesty passed through congress, the president has been using the same tactic. He has been demonizing the health insurance companies, accusing them of denying peoples’ claims and raking in billions in excess profits. Here’s some interesting information about health insurers that the president is omitting from his attack on the insurance industry that I found a few days ago on Facebook, written by author, freelance writer and not so little brother, Phillip J. Hubbell:

“According to the most recent Fortune 500 rankings, health insurers are not even among the top-30 United States industries in profit-margin. Health insurers rank 35th, with a profit-margin of just 2.2 percent -- less than one-fifth the profit-margin of railroads. None of the ten largest American health insurers made profits of more than 4.5 percent, and two of them lost money. Health insurers' collective profit-margin is less than one-eighth that of drug companies and less than one-seventh that of companies that sell medical products or equipment. It's also less than that of medical facilities. Yet when was the last time you heard President Obama rail against greedy hospitals?

The combined profits of America's ten largest health insurers are $8.3 billion. That's less than two-thirds of the profits of Wal-Mart alone, less than half of the profits of General Electric alone, and less than one-seventh of what Medicare loses each year to fraud. Health insurers collectively have one-eighth the profit-margin of McDonald's or Coke, one-ninth that of eBay, and one-fifteenth that of Merck.

The Healthcare debate continues to grow as Obama demonizes those evil profit-making insurance companies--meanwhile Nancy Pelosi says, ‘But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.’"

The Obama alternative to those “greedy” insurance companies is the federal government. We are to believe that the owners of the post office, Medicare and the IRS can create a health care monopoly that is cheaper and more efficient than the private sector.

Anytime the government gets involved in anything, the costs always skyrocket. Back in 1970 the government forecast the cost of the hospital portion of Medicare would be $2.9 billion per year. The actual cost was $5.3 million. The same estimate in 1980 was $5.5 billion while the actual cost was $25.6 billion. To pay for it, the government created 23 new taxes in the first 30 years of Medicare. From this information, I am confident that if Obama can get this bill passed, the cost “savings” that he touts will disappear and in its place, huge tax increases will be substituted. I think he wants this as his legacy, no matter how bad it is, no matter what it costs, and no matter if it costs him his job and the jobs of Democrats in congress that voted for it. He believes in socialized medicine and it doesn’t bother him that an overwhelming number of Americans hate the idea and don’t want the federal government intruding into their personal affairs. He thinks he knows better than everyone else. He also knows that once a large number of people—his people, start getting free medical care, congress will not have the political will to repeal it. Our only hope is to stop it now.