Figures… Congressional Raises Topped Insurance Company Profits Last Year
Democrats are quick to accuse the evil health insurance industry of massive profits. …But insurance companies ranked only 35th on the list of most profitable American industries in 2009.
In fact, the members of Congress enjoyed a better raise than the insurance companies this year.
The AP reported, via Free Republic:
Quick quiz: What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They’re all more profitable than the health insurance industry.
In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making “immoral” and “obscene” returns while “the bodies pile up.”
Ledgers tell a different reality. Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.
Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. This partly explains why the credit ratings of some of the largest insurers were downgraded to negative from stable heading into this year, as investors were warned of a stagnant if not shrinking market for private plans.
Insurers are an expedient target for leaders who want a government-run plan in the marketplace. Such a public option would force private insurers to trim profits and restrain premiums to compete, the argument goes. This would “keep insurance companies honest,” says President Barack Obama.
The debate is loaded with intimations that insurers are less than straight, when they are not flatly accused of malfeasance.
They may not have helped their case by commissioning a report that looked primarily at the elements of health care legislation that might drive consumer costs up while ignoring elements aimed at bringing costs down. Few in the debate seem interested in a true balance sheet…
…Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better – drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.
More… This year, during the worst recession since the Great Depression, the average member of Congress will realize a 2.8 percent raise.
That means their profit margin is larger than the insurance companies they are demonizing.