After as Susie wrote about here back in January, Blue Shield of California was seeking to hike their rates as much as 59%, it looks like they've now backtracked and are going to return $167 million to policyholders.
One of California’s biggest health insurers said Tuesday it will cap its earnings at 2 percent of revenue and return amounts over that level to its customers, care providers and the community.Blue Shield of California said the new plan starts with last year’s profit. That means it will return $167 million to policyholders.
Chairman and CEO Bruce Bodaken said in a San Francisco Chronicle editorial his company was announcing a “new commitment to help our customers get the health care they need at a price they can better afford.”
“We don’t have absolute power to control rising health care costs, but there are some things we can do to help people pay for it,” he wrote.
Bodaken said San Francisco-based Blue Shield will remain committed to the cap as long as its board determines it can remain financially solvent and make investments to stay competitive. Read on...
Naturally this horrified Forbes on Fox host David Asman and some of his fellow panel members who opened his weekend show on Fox News like this:
ASMAN: Capitalism, look out! A big American company just deciding to limit it's profits on the heels of Washington pressuring its industry. The CEO of Blue Shield California announcing this week that it will cap profits at just 2%. Now someone here fears other companies will start doing the same and that will put a cap on jobs.
Heaven forbid the for-profit model might be taken away from the insurance industry and Asman and any of them that took his side in this argument never did explain exactly how not allowing Wall Street to profit off of the rest of us getting sick and needing to have some form of health care insurance no matter who provides it was going to actually "put a cap on jobs."
I would imagine that there will still be plenty of work for everyday Americans administering health care coverage and being put to work even if the CEO's and Wall Street investors aren't lining their pockets at the same time. Of course on Fox, if you're a government worker doing the same job as someone in the private sector, those jobs don't really count.
Par for the course on Fox, as the really wonderful article by Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone pointed out, this is just another example of the propagandists on Fox getting their talking points for the day and where they beat those talking points into the ground from morning until night.
In this segment those talking points were:
1. The private sector is always better than government.
2. Obama is trying to destroy the economy by destroying jobs.
3. "Obama-care" is going to destroy the private insurance market and force everyone into those horrible government run health exchanges which will cost the taxpayers more money.
4. Government run health insurance is going to lead to rationing (while ignoring the rationing the private insurers were already doing).
5. Government can't compete with the private sector (which completely contradicts talking point 3).
6. Government regulation is horrible for the "free market" and if we just allow the insurance industries to conduct business unfettered, that will lower costs for consumers.
These talking heads on Fox serve their masters well and there's little doubt that those are Wall Street and the private health insurance industry with this segment. Sadly we've got too many in our government serving those same masters as well with "reform" that didn't go far enough but at least is a step in the right direction. And as long as we've got the type of propaganda machine at Fox going with segments like this one, we can count on a lot of voters being woefully misinformed about whether government is capable of providing a service to them more cheaply than the private sector and unaware that the real cure to our problem with the cost of health care insurance is that there are people getting rich off of it instead of providing care to their customers and getting that profit model out, period.