Food for Thought

I’ve been coming across some interesting facts in the news lately that really got me thinking. I’ll share them with you now so you will (hopefully) ponder them as well. I am not an investigative journalist and have not done rigorous research to confirm these facts, but I have heard or seen them all in multiple places in the news.


1. Most private insurance policies have doubled their premiums over the past 3-4 years while increasing deductibles and cutting back coverage.

2. The letters that accompany rate increases usually cite increased physician reimbursement as the reason. Sure, with the population increasing and aging the overall amount paid to physicians has increased. I can tell you though, at least for the pediatricians around here, our income has stayed the same or gone down the past few years.

3. In California, where medical insurance is for profit, about 73 cents of each dollar taken in in premiums goes back out to healthcare. In Minnesota, where insurers are required to be not for profit, around 90 cents per dollar goes back out for healthcare.

4. There are entire claims processing centers (I personally know someone who worked in one) whose main purpose is to review physician and patient claims for any loophole that allows the company to deny payment.

5. Similarly, there are centers that review patients who have high medical expenses because of a severe illness, to see if they can find a way to legally cancel the patient’s coverage.

6. The last few years, around 60% of new bankruptcies in the U.S. have been medical expense related.

It seems to me, that requiring California health insurers to be not for profit would be one big step to help the situation here.


1. The U.S. is one of the largest economies on Earth. If California was its own country, it would be the fifth largest economy on the planet.

2. Nearly every public service, including schools, police, fire, and healthcare have had significant budget cuts in California over the past few years. So, where is all the money from our economy? I don’t have all the answers, but some things to think about:

3. There are quite a few of the very wealthy in California. The top 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth combined than the poorest 150 million (yes, million) Americans. Many of them pay no U.S. income tax.

4. Of the top 100 earning U.S. companies, 80% pay no U.S. income taxes.

5. General Electric, one of the the largest conglomerates in the world, based in the U.S., not only payed no U.S. taxes last year, but received a 3.2 billion dollar tax credit from the US. government. This, while cutting thousands of U.S. jobs and simultaneously increasing their oversees workforce.

6. If those 80 companies payed their fair share of U.S. income tax, it would amount to about 100 billion dollars per year, enough to balance every state’s budget with money left over.

There seems to be a lot of fear that the U.S. is heading towards becoming a socialist economy. We don’t need to go anywhere near that far. All we really have to do is have everyone pay their fair share of taxes without the loopholes of off-shore holdings and using foreign subsidiaries as tax shelters. At least that’s my thought on the matter.
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