A Post Where I Use Many Bad Words to Describe America’s Greed Problem

by William Skink

This country makes me sick. The rapacious greed and corruption will destroy us, eventually. And the next crash is just around the corner.

While health insurance executives get six figure bonuses for the disaster that STILL is our health care system, my take home pay went down because my employer-provided health care plan keeps going up and up and up, a trajectory that shows no signs of abating. From the link:

Health insurance companies that sold policies on the Montana Internet “marketplace” reported some substantial losses in 2014 – but that didn’t stop their executives from collecting some big bonuses.

Patricia Hemingway Hall, the head of Health Care Service Corp., which is the Illinois-based parent firm of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, received a $10.4 million bonus for 2014, on top of her $1.25 million salary, for total compensation of $11.7 million.

The company increased its 2014 revenue from $22.7 billion to $27.7 billion, but had a net loss of $281 million – about $1 billion lower than its 2013 net revenue of $684 million.

In Montana, Blue Cross President Mike Frank’s total compensation for 2014 was $849,000, including a $355,000 bonus and salary of $488,000.

Montana Blue Cross spokesman John Doran said Frank’s total compensation package in 2014 was slightly lower than Frank’s $870,000 compensation for the previous year.

If you want to hear the hilarious reason for this obscenity, check out the rationale:

“Compensation is a way to attract and retain experienced professionals who will serve our members’ long-term interests at a time when the health-care system is undergoing historic changes,” he said. “We need the best and the brightest at all levels of our business to ensure insurance works for everyone over the long term.”

I can just imagine this statement being made, then the fucker who made it laughing maniacally. Long term interests of your members? Insurance that works for everyone? Yeah right, you worthless parasites. Fuck off.

It’s also maddening to think a Lee Newspaper is reporting this when their corporate leeches siphon bonuses for themselves while destroying their capacity to report news.

The other article about the insurance industry woes, written by Mike Dennison, is one of the last articles to come from the shuttered state bureau. It tells the tale of these pieces of shit going hat in hand to Monica Lindeen asking to fuck its rate payers just a little bit more next year:

Blue Cross’ parent company, Health Care Service Corp., reported losses of $282 million for 2014 – almost $1 billion less than its $684 million net gain for the previous year.

Blue Cross, the co-op and two other companies are now filing rates for next year’s policies in Montana. Those rates haven’t been made final or reviewed yet by Montana’s insurance regulator, state Auditor Monica Lindeen, but insurance officials said they’ve asked for increases.

Lindeen said Friday her office has just begun reviewing the 2016 rates. She’ll likely object to parts of the increases, and it’s possible insurers are overestimating some expected costs or other factors, she said.

“There are a lot of different issues on why these rate increases may be so high,” Lindeen said. “We’re hoping through our process we can decrease the increases.”

I have a wild idea? No increase unless every goddamn bonus is returned. Now. Or fuck you. Please, Monica, relate my subtle message to these assholes.

Speaking of greed-driven insanity, since there were no real consequences for the Wall Street fuckers who blew up the economy, housing is once again a re-inflated bubble waiting to burst. From Zerohedge:

And now we come to present day and something really smells fishy again. Home prices crashed by 40% between 2005 and 2012, putting prices back to 1978 on an inflation adjusted basis. All of the bubble gains were wiped out in the blink of an eye. Bernanke and his Wall Street owners had a real problem with this development. Wall Street banks had/have billions in toxic mortgages on their books and only accounting fraud by not having to mark them to market has kept these banks from having to declare bankruptcy. Bernanke, Geithner, and the Wall Street banks hatched their master plan to save themselves at the expense of young people in 2011/2012.

We know for a fact that real median household income is still 7% below 2007 levels and sits at the same level as 1989. We know for a fact that wages have been stagnant since 2007. We know for a fact GDP has barely broken 2% since 2009. We know for a fact the price of healthcare, food, energy, tuition, rent, and a myriad of other daily living expenses are dramatically higher since 2009. We know mortgage originations are at 1997 levels. We know housing starts are 60% below the 2005 highs and at levels seen during the 1991 and 1981 recessions. Existing home sales are 30% below the 2005 high, only up 10% from 2012 levels, and sitting at levels reached in 1999 before the boom.

A critical thinking person might wonder how median single family home prices could possibly skyrocket by 37% in the last three years when household incomes are falling, living expenses rising, and the number of houses being sold are at recessionary levels. The stinking rotting fish again sits in the hallways of the Eccles Building in Washington D.C. Janet “Yellowfish” Yellen has inherited the bubble blowing machine from Ben “Blowfish” Bernanke and has continued to inflate a new housing bubble, because one housing bubble just isn’t enough.

As America the global cop goes after FIFA corruption, it might want to consider cleaning its own house first.

There is a word for the appropriate type of housing the banksters responsible for this mess deserve: prison. Or maybe they want to see how far they can push the US population before we start considering the French approach: guillotines.

Because, seriously, fuck them.

  1. Great post, thank you for putting this together.

  2. I think it was P.J. O’Rourke who said, “If you think that health care is expensive wait until its free”.

    • Turner

      No one ever said health care should be free. It’s a straw man argument that the right wing always trots out to oppose reform.

    • Turner is right, that is straw man. I don’t know about others, but what I say is not that health care should be free, but rather funded by taxpayers as a utility. Then the price woudl sink like a stone, as it has everywhere else in the world that has adopted single payer or something similar.

      But then, Swede, evidence means nothing to you. In fact, last time we talked about it, I think you said all those other countries are liars.

      • Here’s some more liars.

      • Jesus, Swede, that’s lame. One, it’s anecdotal. Have we ever discussed that word? Two, we have no way of verifying if it is true, even though anecdotal. Such matters as discussed in the film are best presented in adversarial formats. This is one-side only.

        Also, the number of people coming to the US for health care form Canada is small, almost trivial. There are agreements in place between the two countries to share expensive equipment to save costs. So often a Canadian will come to the US to take advantage of some incredibly expensive machine. But for basic care, didn’t I read that Sarah Palin went to Canada? (Many Americans also go to Mexico, straining that system.)

        But most importantly, and please read this Swede, statistics show that countries with single-payer or government-run health care systems have better outcomes and lower costs while taking care of 100% of their populations.

        Now read it again.

        And again.

        Once more.

        I know, you didn’t read it. You’re off looking for another YouTube.

        • Sorry to Tube this time.

          “This edition of Waiting Your Turn indicates that waiting times for elective medical treatment have increased since last year. Specialist physicians surveyed across 12 specialties and 10 Canadian provinces report a total waiting time of 18.2 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of elective treatment.

          Wait times between 2012 and 2013 increased in both the segment between referral by a general practitioner and consultation with a specialist (rising to 8.6 weeks from 8.5 weeks in 2012), and the segment between a consultation with a specialist and receipt of treatment (rising to 9.6 weeks from 9.3 weeks in 2012). Physicians also indicate that Canadians wait almost 3 weeks longer than what they consider is clinically “reasonable” for elective treatment after an appointment with a specialist.

          There is also a great deal of variation in the total waiting time faced by patients across the provinces. While Ontario reports the shortest total wait in 2013 (13.7 weeks); Prince Edward Island reports the longest at 40.1 weeks. The same is true of variation among specialties. Patients wait longest between a GP referral and orthopaedic surgery (39.6 weeks), while those waiting for radiation oncology begin treatment in 3.5 weeks.”-Fraser Institute.

        • Swede, even if true, “anecdotal” evidence does not affect the big picture because it does not present enough of the facts. Hitler liked dogs.

          And Swede, one-sided presentations, even if true, usually leave out important facts that affect the overall merits of an argument. But you dwell in them, avoiding balanced information, instead favoring right-wing hacks like Coulter.

          So to make your case you need to refer to the broad body of evidence concerning the overall effectiveness of health care systems in these countries. When that is done, the US does not come out well. That is the plain truth.

          There’s a reason why no other country in the world (except Iraq by force) has ever adopted our system. It does not work. So please do not pester me with your anecdotal ones-sided presentations from right-wing hacks. Instead, Google “big picture.”

          • It comes down to believability Mark. Do you trust the man’s story in the Tube or do you trust collectivists fudged stats?

            I liken it to the TSA. “Trust in us and you’ll be safe” and yet only 4 times in 100 were they able to catch bombs and knives in the latest boarding tests.

          • No, it does NOT come down to believability, because that is a faith-based exercise. You continually spray the blogs with links to people you believe in, and who you have not treated with due skepticism. Most of it is anecdotal and useless.

            It takes exposure to a huge body of data, and use of the noggin, the ability to change mind and viewpoint, to connect dots, and to construct a world view.

            If you were to expose yourself to the huge body of data available on health care systems, you’d have a different view of things. As it is, you’re merely a source of anecdotes and unchanging opinions.

            • Where does you data come from Mark?

            • Many sources. You could try the Google for real, using “health care systems around the world.” WHO did a study in 2000, but knowing you as I do you’ll attack that, since it is UN, and anyway, WHO came under attack by the US for that study and has not done another since.

              I’ve also read books and have a pretty good grasp of insurance, which does not work well in health care. Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA executive (and who I don’t really trust) wrote a good book called “Deadly Spin.”

              Anyway, grab six or a dozen studies and then use your noggin to ferret out what might be true. It’s complicated, takes time and effort.

              • No Mark, the WHO and the UN get the numbers from the institutes of health themselves, not from independent sources.

              • I don’t care. If you get enough information from enough sources, you can properly evaluate the numbers. There’s a reflexive distrust of anything UN on the far right, which is why I suggested a wide variety of sources, time and effort.

                It’s a bugaboo among authoritarians (I’ve seen it in Pogie and Conner) that you have to trust a source before you can digest its data. All that does is ens love you to a trusted source, likely as fraudulent as any other. You won’t be harmed by reading material you disagree with.

                I trust we’ll discuss this again in several months after you’ve taken time to familiarize yourself with health care systems in other countries, weighing their strengths and weaknesses, costs and outcomes before passing judgment. As would a prudent man. I’ll talk to you then.

              • I don’t give a shit about the UN and I don’t have to read volumes of BS to figure that countries that have single payer or a reasonable facsimile fudge the numbers. They’re no going to make themselves look bad, just like the VA with the secret wait list, it’s symptomatic.

              • You’ve made it clear that reading ain’t your thing, nor thinking. I rest my case.

              • Not even close. where was your sources on the VA or Indian Health Service? No where, doesn’t serve the agenda does it?

                So we can’t trust the CIA, we can’t trust any armed services, our government hides the death of Kennedy, domestic terror attacks, secret prisons and torture chambers but hey when it comes to health care everything is on the up and up.

              • Are you confusing me with someone else? I don’t recall saying anything about VI or IHC, though my experiences with and what I have read of VA is very good.

                So we can’t trust the CIA, we can’t trust any armed services, our government hides the death of Kennedy, domestic terror attacks, secret prisons and torture chambers but hey when it comes to health care everything is on the up and up.

                That is a crazy non sequitur. Indeed we are incredibly corrupt in all those areas, but it does not follow that government-run health care in other countries is screwed up.

                What I know about CIA and JFK and all the other stuff is evidence-based. You’ve never looked at any evidence, out of fear I suppose. You have no basis for criticism. None.

              • Your blogs main theme is mistrust of our govt.. I learned it from you.

              • My blog is about many things, including the law that took force on 9/18/47 that planted the seed that led to 11/22/63, 3/31/68, 8/8/74, 3/30/81, 9/11/01 and so many other events. That all has to do with shadow government, what Ike called the Military Industrial Complex, Prouty the “Secret Team,” Clinton the “government within the government that I do not control.”

                But regular government can still function – indeed Medicare and Social Security, for example, are doing quite well.

                It is not a black white world.

  3. By the way, when insurers approach Lindeen for a rate increase, it is understood they have to give her political cover. There will be certain aspects of the proposal they expect her to reject. But don’t kid yourself. Lindeen will give them what they want. That’s the only reason she is holds office.

  4. I have to disagree with what you’re written and also say you’ve fell right into the “trap” that Dennison set up when he decided to write and place the 2 healthcare articles side by side in the weekends papers as his final goodbye.
    First, I doubt the bonuses were based upon the fiscal year in which the insurances companies incurred the losses. Usually the numbers about profits/loss come out around the same time or after the end of year bonus calculations. The article shows that the profits the year before were 3-4 times higher than the losses of the year after, so those large gains were probably what got them bonuses.
    Second, doesn’t ACA limit the amount of compensation and profits that insurance companies can make? If we were outraged by the “greed” of the insurance executives so much that we passed a Federal law saying they couldn’t make more than a % or cap of profits, can we still be outraged about the “greed” after we pass that law? It seems more to me like any amount that isn’t near the average working wage would be seen as “greed” by liberals when in fact it’s appropriate compensation for running a national level company as CEO.
    Dennison set this up for people to be outraged and you’ve gone exactly where he’s wanted you to. Maybe we should be more outraged at the government that encouraged insurers to shoot low on their premium prices that year in order to try and drive sign-ups, knowing there are provisions to bailout them out even if they take big losses. Maybe we should be mad that an “objective” reporter takes a final shot at an industry he doesn’t like because he’s not objective. I’ve never thought it was the job of reporters to encourage people to sign up for government programs, or to shame companies for making profits, yet that’s exactly what Dennison has done many times.
    Get beyond the anger into the facts and politics of it a bit, and you might change your perspective.

    • lizard19

      um, no. the trap was ACA, written by a parasitic industry. Mike’s article didn’t suddenly spark my anger. my coverage has gotten shittier and more expensive year after year, no longer covering dependents (my kids) and now no longer covering medication.

      your attempt to redirect the anger elsewhere is telling. do you work in the industry Timmy? or perhaps a family member? because I can’t think of anyone who would argue the huge salaries and bonuses for insurance execs are justified unless they somehow benefit from this fucked up system.

      I guess people who give up their souls to act as middlemen between my family and our doctors should be handsomely compensated. thanks for sticking up for the soulless, Tim.

    • lizard19

      also, you clearly have no idea how newspapers work. google “editor”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,691,415 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,734 other followers

  • May 2015
    S M T W T F S
  • Categories

%d bloggers like this: