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Blog of Mass Destruction

Follow The Money

By The Reverend Published: December 23, 2009

Because greed is one of the most powerful drivers of all human activity, I thought it would be helpful to see how those who make their living through unmitigated greed regard the Democratic health care legislation which moved closer to passage on Sunday morning.......

Health industry index funds did well on Monday....

The S&P Healthcare Index rose 1.4 percent, while the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor stock index rose 3.6 percent.The S&P Managed Health Care index rose 4.6 percent.

Stock and funds analyst explains how the health insurance industry fared in the new legislation....

" All in all, relative to the last version of health reform issued by the Senate, things have turned out pretty well for the health insurance industry," said Carl McDonald, an analyst at Oppenheimer.

How the health industry plans to deal with any new taxes aimed in their direction in the legislation.....

The original Senate bill taxed the health insurance industry a fixed $6.7 billion a year. Under the new proposal, the industry would face a $2 billion tax in 2011, with increases over time to $10 billion in 2017.

Analysts said the new proposal would allow insurers time to factor the tax into pricing.

Volume holders of health insurance stocks....ummm.....found a very big bag of profits for the taking in their Christmas stockings on Monday.....

Shares of Cigna rose 5.3 percent to $37.69. Shares of Aetna Inc rose 5.84 percent to $34.41. Humana Inc rose 3.79 percent to $45.17 and United Health Group Inc rose 5 percent to $33.14. Shares of Wellpoint Inc rose 3.8 percent to $60.51.

Shares of pharmacy benefit managers Medco Health Solutions Inc rose 3.84 percent to $65.51 and Express Scripts rose 5.2 percent to $88.77 as concern eased that an industry tax could be added to the bill in the final days leading up to the vote.

Why would "investors" be buying health insurance stocks so briskly after Sunday mornings successful Democratic breaking of a Republican filibuster on health care reform legislation?

Beause "investors" are not ideological, just greedy.....and those "investors" recognized a health insurance boondoggle when they saw one forming on the Senate floor.

Many folks would call these Monday "investments" smart....and that's probably true.....but what soaring health insurance stock prices indicate is that "reform" in America today rarely, if ever, happens, without huge windfalls and advantages handed over to Big Corporation.

"Reform", as in Medicare Plan D passage, always comes fully equipped with instant lottery ticket winnings for the most powerful for-profit players in the industry being reformed.

The most efficient and affordable way to have dealt with reforming American health care was single payer for all...Medicare for all. Liberals knew going in that single payer was 'off the table.' Accepting that reality....perhaps a robust public option would be the second most efficient way to drive health insurance pricing downward.....maybe some Medicare expansion. Sorry....no can do. Progressive ideas primarily benefitting, you know, the people.....can never be considered in the modern era. "Reform" in America has become a synonym for increasing corporate and investor profits.

America doesn't want to solve it's hardest problems with the best solutions.....we want the cake and we're going to eat it too.

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