Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One insurance company enjoys domination of many states

Did you know that in nine states a single insurer covers 70 percent or more of the people? Can you type, MONOPOLY?

As a general rule, the larger, more densely populated states have the most choice — and even the biggest insurer controls only a minority share of the market. According to statistics from the American Medical Association, the leading insurance provider in California covers 24 percent of the population, while in New York the figure is 26 percent and in Florida, 30 percent.

But there are nine states where a single insurer covers 70 percent or more of the people. In Hawaii, one insurer covers 78 percent. In Alabama, it’s 83 percent. And in at least 17 other states one insurer covers at least half the population.

See that map above? See how much control one insurance company has over a state? See how they can jack up or set premiums anyway they like? Ain't that a lot of power? And now do you understand why they are fighting so hard AGAINST the public option? Did you figure it out yet? MONEY. Why stop or change a good thing you got going?

Oh and get this?
Some members of the Senate Finance Committee, which is taking a lead on health care legislation, come from states where the insurance market is highly concentrated. The Democratic chairman, Senator Max Baucus, is from Montana, where 75 percent of people are covered by one major insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. For Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, the figure is 71 percent, by Wellmark. For Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, it’s 78 percent, by WellPoint.

“For many Americans, the idea that they have a choice of health plans is about as mythical as unicorns,” said Jacob Hacker, professor of political science at Yale University.

See why some of these so called Leaders in the Senate are nothing but compromised politicians. We can not expect Max Baucus to do the right thing, just as we can not expect Chuck Grassley to be a honest broker for health care. These men are compromised by the lobbyists, they have taken too much of their money, they are OWNED by the checkbook, my friends. OWNED.

And what about those pesky co-ops that Senator Kent Conrad keeps talking about? Do they have a REAL standing chance in this competitive market?
Mr. Potter, the former CIGNA officer, is skeptical.

“Philadelphia, my hometown, is dominated by Independence Blue Cross and Aetna,” he said. As it happens, that’s where CIGNA’s has its headquarters. “But CIGNA has a small presence there,” he said. “The market is largely locked up by the dominant companies.”

And if CIGNA can’t gain a more meaningful base in its own hometown, “a small, non-profit co-op doesn’t stand a chance,” Mr. Potter said. “It’s like a grocery store competing against Wal-Mart.”

Ah, co-ops are nothing but a name, a mirage, a vapor, or nothing. This is why a public option with a government seal is crucial to compete FAIRLY for the American tax payer.

Americans want CHOICE. Choice that members of congress gets, with low premiums and quality care. That is all we want. We are not asking for anything free, we just want to pool our resources so that each and everyone of us can benefit at an affordable rate. Americans can not benefit when you have ONE COMPANY insuring a whole state, what choice is that? That is not choice it is a STRANGLEHOLD, not choice.

Real health care reform is single payer, but we are not asking for that. We are just asking for choice. If congress enjoys the public option and it is good enough for them, why not the rest of America?

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