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During a July press conference on health care reform, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated:
I’m very pleased that our Chair of our Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and members of the leadership will be talking too about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry...
But if the reforms being pushed by Democrats become law, then the "immoral profits" seen by the health insurance industry will dramatically increase. This past summer, President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers reported that the average annual premium for individual coverage is $4,321. If the 46 million uninsured are required to purchase health insurance--which they will be under the individual mandate included in Democrat reform proposals-- then the insurance industry stands to make up to $200 billion in new insurance premiums per year. Insurers are also set to receive $463 billion in taxpayer subsidies over the next 10 years under the Baucus Bill.
Such major profits would certainly help an industry which does not even rank within the top 30 Fortune 500 industries. According to Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press:
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.
In his article, FACT CHECK: Health insurer profits not so fat, Woodward compares the profits seen by insurers to those seen by other industry leaders. With a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, the insurance industry's profit margin was far less than:
In an attempt to reverse such trends and capitalize on reform, the insurance industry has shelled out $1.4 million a day on lobbying. So far, that money has been well spent; reform could mean big bucks for insurers.
Who knew that when Speaker Pelosi said that Democrats were addressing the "immoral profits" made by health insurance providers, she was actually talking about helping them make more money?