Ezra Klein of the Washington Post blames high prices charged by healthcare providers and hospitals for spiraling costs in America's healthcare system in an article titled Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France.
According to Klein...
"Two of the five most profitable industries in the United States — the pharmaceuticals industry and the medical device industry — sell health care.
With margins of almost 20 percent, they beat out even the financial sector for sheer profitability.
The players sitting across the table from them — the health insurers — are not so profitable.
In 2009, their profit margins were a mere 2.2 percent.
That’s a signal that the sellers have the upper hand over the buyers."However, health insurers are also doing pretty well.
According to the Boston Globe, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts made $136.1 million dollars in 2011 which was TEN TIMES more profit than they made in 2010!
Here is the breakdown of CEO compensation for the four largest health insurance companies in Massachusetts:
- Blue Cross CEO Andrew Dreyfus received $874,000, up from $800,000 in 2010.
- Tufts CEO James Roosevelt Jr. received $1.7 million, up from $1.2 million in 2010.
- Harvard Pilgrim CEO Eric Schultz received $1.2 million, up from $795,000 in 2010.
- Fallon CEO W. Patrick Hughes, received $810,000, up from $649,000 in 2010.
“A continuing decline in consumer demand for medical services... had a positive impact on our financial performance.”So, if I follow the logic - Americans pay health insurance premiums but then they can't afford to obtain medical services (perhaps because co-payments are SO high?) and that's the fault of the the medical provider?