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Blog of Mass Destruction

America's Real God: Profits

By The Reverend Published: August 26, 2007

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The Republican candidates for president, to the man, reject all universal, single payer health care plans proposed by progressives. Some of the Democratic candidates reject these plans as well.

What does this suggest about our nation? Anything? Surely it says something about our nation's priorities, but what is it?

First...

From CNNMoney.com

Here are the profit numbers for the top five health insurers for the last year....

1.UnitedHealthGroup 4,159,000,000

2. WellPoint 3,094,900,000

3. Aetna 1,701,700,000

4. Humana 487,400,000

5. Cigna 1,155,000,000

Here are the profit numbers for the top five pharmaceutical companies last year...

1. Johnson & Johnson 11,053,000,000

2. Pfizer 19,337,000,000

3. GlaxoSmithKline 9,915,000,000

4. Novartis 7,175,000,000

5. Sanofi-Aventis 5,026,100,000

Now, totaling up just the top five health insurer's and pharmaceutical maker's profits from last year I come up with over $63 billion dollars.

That's JUST the profits....after all the big salaries and big advertising and all the rest have been paid. Quite a bit of money even using 2007 standards.

Let's throw in a few more numbers....

Data released .... by the Census Bureau show that the number of uninsured Americans stood at a record 46.6 million in 2005, with 15.9 percent of Americans lacking health coverage.

[...]

The number of children who are uninsured rose from 7.9 million in 2004 to 8.3 million in 2005. Source

But what about those who are actually insured? From a study by the journal, Health Affairs......

"Our study is frightening. Unless you're Bill Gates, you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick. Health insurance offered little protection. Families with coverage faced unaffordable co-payments, deductibles and bills for uncovered items like physical therapy, psychiatric care and prescription drugs. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanished when prolonged illness caused job loss - precisely when families needed it most. Too often, private health insurance is an umbrella that melts in the rain," said David Himmelstein, lead author of the study. Link

Recap time. 16% of the country has no health insurance at all, over 8 million of that 16% are children, 75% of those bankrupted by health related problems had health insurance..... and while these numbers were accumulating, the top five health insurers and pharmaceutical makers
made $63 billion in profits alone.

Is there even a need to ask the question of what constitutes America's priorities? Profits are more important than the health of America's citizens. Corporate profits are top priority. It's really that simple.

Knowing all these facts, leading Republican candidates for president want to throw yet another bone to their wealthy constituents with the insulting "health savings accounts". Talk about out of touch.

But the two frontrunners for the Democratic candidacy want to continue the "have your cake and eat it too" approach by simply including more Americans on the insurance rolls. Incremental plans attempting to maintain those big profits for big insurance and big drug makers while at the same time covering more people. Kind of a split priority.

Dennis Kucinich offers this.....

"A not-for-profit health care system is not only possible, but H.R. 676, a bill that I introduced, and a number of Congressmen, the Conyers-Kucinich bill, actually establishes Medicare for all, a single-payer system and it's a not-for-profit system. It's time we ended this thought that health care is a privilege. It is a basic right, and it's time to end this control that insurance companies have not only over health care but over our political system. ... I'm talking about a real deal for the American people, a universal single-payer not-for-profit Medicare for all." Link

But Kucinich is just a silly guy from northern Ohio, someone the very serious Knee Pad Media folks like to poke fun at .....doesn't have his priorities straight, dontcha' know.

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