Healthcare Reform Debate – If the ongoing healthcare reform debate has you even somewhat engaged, you have to watch this MSNBC news piece.
UnitedHealth Is The Next Enron – UnitedHealth is definitely a dirty pony (as evidenced by, among other things, the numerous enforcement actions brought against it over the past three years). And Helmsley himself (who earned a disclosed $48 million in 2008) is a shameless, selfish, duplicitous and arrogant human being who epitomizes corporate greed and excess. For him to even suggest that UnitedHealth is entirely “neutral” on the issue of a public health insurer is disingenuous. I know many executives at UnitedHealth personally (two of whom are my neighbors), and I can tell you that UnitedHealth is anything but neutral on the issue. The prospect of a public health insurer is very frightening to UnitedHealth, as well it should be.
The Difficult Reality – I am a hardcore free-market advocate, and I never thought I would hear myself say this, but I actually think the public insurer idea is a good one. IMO, there’s a very good chance that it will shake things up a bit, and for the better. At present (and it’s only recently that we’ve been able to admit this to ourselves), we are locked in a fatal convergence of uncontrollably escalating healthcare costs (provider side) and corporate greed (payor side, a la Hemsley and UnitedHealth and other for-profit payors). Providers keep passing along costs, and private sector payors keep passing along costs (in order to remain unconscionably profitable). Well, game over! Enough is enough. It’s time for a change.
More Unflattering News About UnitedHealth and Helmsley: