What we Americans are paying for health care is grand larceny! Costs keep shooting up far faster than inflation and at a rate much higher than do American salaries. As with last summer's ridiculously high $4 per gallon gasoline prices, the main cause is corporate greed, particularly in the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Their greed is an indefensible abuse of the marketplace, all the more so at a time when Americans' wages have been stagnating or in decline for years now, and food, energy, and almost all other costs have been on a steady rise.
Health insurance providers love to blame the high cost of health care on doctors, but this is a dishonest claim designed to focus attention away from their own most definite contribution. According to an industry survey done by Merritt Hawkins & Associates, in 2007, 81.29% of all primary care physicians made $225,000 or less annually (and only 8.9% made in excess of $300,000). Surgeons and specialists, of course, drew higher salaries, but their numbers are smaller than those of primary care physicians. And yes, all of these doctors have well-paid staffs including nurses, medical technicians, therapists, x-ray technicians, etc., but their salaries are all much less than that of physicians or surgeons. Not only that, but health insurance companies have large staffs themselves. Now $225,000 or $300,000 may seem like a gigantic amount to a person earing only $25,000 or $50,000 per year, but the number seems less gargantuan when one considers the many years of expensive higher education put in by physicians as well as the colossally high malpractice insurance rates they must pay. So this attempt by insurance companies to use physicians as whipping boys for the high and ever-rising cost of health care is a deliberate deceit.
Now that we have exposed the myth of the massively-overpaid physicians, let's look at the humungous salaries the health insurance and pharmaceutical company CEOs "earn" (steal?). According to an August 23, 2007 WEB MD blog called "Nad About Medicine," in an article entitled "CEO Compensation: Who Said Health Care is in a Financial Crisis?", in 2005 the CEO of United Health Group was paid a staggering $124.8 MILLION, the CEO of Forest Labs got $92.1 MILLION, Merck's CEO got $37.8 MILLION, Aetna's CEO received $22.1 MILLION, Becton-Dickinson's got $10 MILLION, and Eli Lilly's got $7.2 MILLION. Keep in mind, these are only CEO salaries and DON'T include Senior VPs', VPs', or other board members' compensation rates, which are also extremely high. You'll be guaranteed to grab your wallet or pocketbook in terror and puke green if you go to The Industry Reader's website at http://www.theindustryreader.com/index.cfm?account=radar&page=Healthplan_Executive_Co . Here you'll see that, in 2007, the top 6 health plan boards paid themselves a whopping $277,998,793. That same year, the entire Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our government cost us, in comparison, only $95,974,600. Damn few health insurance board members have ever directly saved a life or eased someone's pain. So why should these pigs and their counterparts in the pharmaceutical industry be paid salaries in the MILLIONS while the infinitely better-educated and more valuable physicians be paid only in the hundreds of THOUSANDS? This is unjustifiable, immoral, and we are most definitely not getting our money's worth from these vastly overpaid, leveraged parasite middlemen!
Clearly, with health insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies swimming in mounds of money and excessively profiting off of human illness and suffering, this setup is in need of radical reform. The piggish executives live lives of absolute luxury, while 1 in 7 of us cannot even afford health insurance, and the prospect of cancer treatments or major surgery spells certain loss of property and life savings. This is blatantly wrong and thoroughly evil. Hospitals (even so-called non-profit ones) have become giant money vacuums sucking the public dry. Doctors are being squeezed by health insurance bandits, who are now effectively dictating terms of health care for purposes of profit by cherry-picking whom and what they will cover, how often, and how much. Regrettably, the John Edwards health care plan will not be adopted. It would have truly provided universal health care for all citizens and would have closely resembled plans long in use all over Europe and Canada. It would have also booted the self-serving, profiteering insurance company pigs out of the picture altogether. Instead, we will most likely end up with a version of the Obama plan, which will still be far better than what we have today, but it will unfortunately allow the insurance parasites to still sit at the planning and operations tables. So it will fall short of the mark we truly need to hit. Oh well, I guess 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing...
One parting thought: The next time you are at your doctor's and feel like grumbling at the $15, $20, or $25 co-pay you must pay, just remember that your doctor, just like you, is also getting screwed by the profiteering insurance companies!
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