GOP Myth: Obamacare is Driving Insurance Mergers

Other factors are fueling the proposed Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna marriages.

Republican lawmakers and their friends in Washington’s conservative think tanks have put forth another reason Americans should hate Obamacare: it’s making the country’s biggest insurance companies gobble each other up. If the recently announced deals actually happen, they say, we’ll have fewer insurance choices.

When the CEOs of Aetna and Humana announced a few days ago that they had agreed to a deal in which Aetna will pay $37 billion

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Coming Health Insurance Mergers Will Cost Consumers

Talk of ‘eliminating redundancies’ really means layoffs.

The number of health insurers competing for your business almost certainly will decrease in coming months as the big for-profit firms merge or acquire each other.  The companies insist that the results will enable them to operate more efficiently  through the elimination of redundancies. But don’t expect your premiums to go down when the dust settles. In fact, if the past is prologue, premiums will go up.

The biggest beneficiaries will be the

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Insurers’ Arguments Key to Supreme Court Decision

Upholding Obamacare only way to avoid ‘death spiral.

It is clear from both the first paragraph and closing comments in the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Obamacare subsidies that the justices listened more closely to the insurance industry than perhaps any other party.

In an amicus brief it filed with the court in King v. Burwell, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, painted a dire picture of what would happen to the private health insurance market—and to

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Industry Lobbies Hard to Snuff Out Tax on Medical Devices

Funds go to support Affordable Health Care Act.

If there ever was a piece of legislation influenced by campaign contributions and lobbyists, the bill to repeal a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers, which the House passed last Thursday, would be it.

Forty-six Democrats joined 234 Republicans to repeal the tax, which was authorized by the Affordable Care Act as one of the ways to pay for the expansion of health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. The

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For-Profit Hospitals Mark Up Prices By More Than 1,000 Percent Because There’s Nothing To Stop Them

Health facility charges run amok.

If you think costs would come down if hospitals were all owned and operated by big for-profit corporations like Hospital Corporation of America, you might want to take a look at a study published last week by the journal Health Affairs.

Of the 50 U.S. hospitals that mark up prices the most, 49 of them are part of for-profit hospital chains, according to the study’s authors, Ge Bai of Washington & Lee University and Gerard

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Free Market Ideology Doesn’t Work for Health Care

Costs imposed by ‘medical industrial complex’ defy reason.

In my column last week I suggested that one of the reasons Americans tolerate paying so much more for health care than citizens of any other country — and getting less to show for it — is our gullibility. We’ve been far too willing to believe the self-serving propaganda we’ve been fed for decades by health insurers and pharmaceutical companies and every other part of the medical-industrial complex, a term New England

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The Best Health Care System in the World? Nonsense!

Let’s stop buying the party line from insurers and drug companies.

Americans spend more per capita on health care than people anywhere else in the world, yet outcomes in every other developed country are better on almost every measure, from infant mortality to life expectancy.

A big reason for that is our collective gullibility. We continue to believe what many politicians tell us, despite evidence to the contrary: that we have the best health care system in the world.

Similarly,

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Obamacare Exchanges Help, But Confused Consumers Are Still Spending Too Much

Folks are happy with health coverage, but still confused by choices.

Here’s the good news: 74 percent of people nationwide who enrolled in health insurance plans through the Obamacare exchanges rate their coverage as excellent or good.  That’s according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released last Thursday.

Here’s the not so good news: There’s a better than even chance that many of those folks did not pick the plan that is best suited to their needs. As a consequence,

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Insurers’ High-Deductible Plans Leave Many Without Needed Care

Study shows more Americans entering ranks of the underinsured.

A dozen or so years ago, a small group of wealthy corporate insurance executives decided their customers were not paying nearly enough for the medical care they received. How else to explain the fact that managed care — which they had touted as a silver bullet just a decade earlier — had failed miserably at controlling health care costs.

Those executives came to embrace as the newest silver bullet a strategy …

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Court Case Shows How Health Insurers Rip Off You And Your Employer

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan added hidden fees to hospital claims.

If you think you’re paying too much for employer-sponsored health coverage, you might want to forward this to the HR department. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that your health insurer has been ripping off both you and your employer—to the tune of several million dollars every year—for decades.

Many Americans, according to various polls, blame Obamacare for every hike in premiums despite the fact that the rate of

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