An unlikely winner in the long-running bull market: Health insurers

August 25, 2018


Richard Gottfried <>

Aug 24, 2018, 11:32 PM (9 hours ago)

This Quote of the Day is stunning. This refers to the post from yesterday An unlikely winner in the long-running bull market: Health insurers by Bertha Coombs

At last week’s annual conference of the National Academy for State Health Policy, one of the speakers was Ana Gupte, from the Wall Street firm Leerink Partners, talking about Wall Street’s view of health care.  The room, filled with many state Medicaid directors and other state officials and a few state legislators, was pretty stunned to hear her say that for Wall Street, “Medicaid managed care is a gold mine.”


This Quote of the Day lays that out in more detail.

The key thing about Medicaid managed care and “Medicare Advantage” is that they run public health coverage through the wasteful machinery of insurance companies.

Think of the billions of dollars that go to feeding insurance company administrative operations, marketing and profit, and the billions that doctors, hospitals and other providers spend on administrative costs to fight with insurance companies.  Think of the health care that money could pay for.  Or the food, clothing, housing, vacations, and other things that money could pay for if it was in people’s pockets instead of being taken by insurance companies.

Thinking of this, I was reminded of the speech by President Eisenhower (Republican and the general who led the Allied victory in World War II) in 1953:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final

sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Here’s a link to a nice article about it:

(When I was a child, it was common for people to make fun of Eisenhower for being inarticulate.  But that passage is poetry.)

I’m not suggesting we mix up discussion of the NY Health Act with a discussion about military spending — we’ve got enough on our plate.  But I like the idea of talking about what we could be doing with all that money spent on feeding and fighting insurance companies.  E.g., people have been saying that commercial health coverage for a family of 4 costs about $20,000 a year — and that’s like buying a new car every year.  (And don’t forget the deductible — you can’t drive it until you buy tires and an engine.)

Richard N. Gottfried
“Free yourself.  Free others.  Serve every day.” –Nelson Mandela



2 Responses to “An unlikely winner in the long-running bull market: Health insurers”

  1. rebecca spoon on August 25th, 2018 1:59 pm

    Thank heavens somebody is paying close enough attention. If Medicaid and Medicare are now gold mines for private health unsurance corporations (and they are), then ACA is a platinum mine of even richer profits for them (at our expense). We are being played like fiddles for fools by BOTH sold-out sides of the aisle (not just one). Go Bernie.

  2. bharrisonspny on August 25th, 2018 2:15 pm

    Hello Rebecca,

    Bernie’s S. 1804 has some positive aspects to it. But it is missing some important single payer aspects.

    Thanks for your comment.
    (sorry I don’t know how to make it a alive link)