I recently read the argument that the health insurance companies should not be castigated and “unfairly” maligned, because they make only 3% profit a year. And it is true that they make, on average, 3% profit per year. But I call bullshit on this line of argument. That 3% is AFTER they pay their CEOs millions of dollars a year, their upper management hundreds of thousands a year, their senior staff huge salaries, big salaries to their lobbyists, write off their “contributions” to Congress (right now, the insurance and pharma companies are spending a million dollars a DAY lobbying Congress, all written off as advertising and contributions) and expense their television and print advertising.
What do you suppose their profit might be if all these expenses were not considered legitimate business expenses? (Answer: over thirty per cent.) And what do you suppose your insurance premiums would be if the insurance companies had to operate as non-profit systems? (Answer: less than half what they are now.)
Non-profit does not mean the employees and managers don’t get paid – it means they receive a reasonable compensation for their work. And I would remind those too young to remember, which apparently includes every member of the House and Senate who, no matter his age, can’t seem to recall yesterday, that up until the seventies, most insurance in the US was non-profit. In many states, a for-profit health insurance company could not get a license to sell its product.
But this is exactly the system, the system they grew up under, that the current crop of big business thugs – I mean, er, the House and Senate – calls “socialism” now.