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View Diary: Aetna CEO: Game Over for Big-Profit Health Insurance (178 comments)

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  •  Unless they can get government to bail them out (8+ / 0-)

    via subsidies to make up for the losses they incur for having to insure and cover the sickest and poorest people, that is.

    The problem is that this would require an amount of money that is neither financially nor politically feasible in the foreseeable future--we'd have to borrow vast amounts to pay for it, and no politician is going to associate themselves with that as it would be political suicide.

    Insurance companies are sort of left holding the hot potato here. After banks and auto companies being bailed out, and with a call for massive infrastructure investment and stimulus spending, there's simply no more political (or financial) capital left to bail out insurers--and they know it.

    I don't know to what extent this will drive them out of business, and when. But the current setup of our private health care and insurance system, and current financial and political conditions, do not bode well for insurers. They're sort of like travel agents--who needs them when it's so much cheaper and easier to book travel online, except for niche needs like exotic cruises?

    The real question is what will replace them.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 01:44:51 PM PST

    •  Yes, bailing out Aetna would cause infinite rage-- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      even amongst the tea partiers, I'd think.

    •  The Affordable Care Act IS a bailout (8+ / 0-)

      and that bailout was the tradeoff to get everyone health insurance. It is something we've been working on for a hundred years. It was not possible to get anything better. God knows, we tried in the 1970s and the 1990s.

      •  If so it's a bailout with sharply limited profits (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        james321, Cedwyn, jayden, Egalitare

        in the future, which is soon upon us.  The 85%-to-actual-care rule is powerful.  That plus taking away the worst of their scams (pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps, etc) will make corporate HC a lot less "corporate".

      •  A legal, not financial bailout (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkor7, GayHillbilly

        The point being that as currently set up, and further reinforced and entrenched by the ACA, the existing private insurance-based health care financial system is simply unsustainable, and by not providing a sufficient financial undergirding to it, the ACA may well have, whether by design or not, doomed it to collapse, of its own making and design. Since they can no longer deny insurance or coverage to the sickest and oldest, costs will skyrocket for insurers, and even allowing for government subsidies for less well-off people to pay for their premiums and cost shares, there simply isn't enough money going into insurers to make it profitable enough for them--if at all--to be worth staying in business. Which will make investors abandon them, which will make their collapse just a matter of time.

        And since government cannot and will not bail them out, the only solution will be for government to step in and take over, one company, region and state at a time, by insuring people itself, at first through "emergency" measures, then by formalizing these measures into permanent programs.

        The only real question is whether this was by design, and how long it'll take.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 03:17:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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