Those “Greedy” HealthCare Companies…..Really?

President Obama would have us believe that the healthcare industry is just rolling in the profits.  Really?  Let’s look at the numbers.  These figures were listed in a recent article by the associated press. 

THE NUMBERS:

Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th of 53 industries on the Fortune 500 list. As is typical, other health sectors did much better — drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That’s a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.

Van Hollen is right that premiums have more than doubled in a decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found a 131 percent increase.

But were the Bush years golden ones for health insurers?

Not judging by profit margins, profit growth or returns to shareholders. The industry’s overall profits grew only 8.8 percent from 2003 to 2008, and its margins year to year, from 2005 forward, never cracked 8 percent.

The latest annual profit margins of a selection of products, services and industries: Tupperware Brands, 7.5 percent; Yahoo, 5.9 percent; Hershey, 6.1 percent; Clorox, 8.7 percent; Molson Coors Brewing, 8.1 percent; construction and farm machinery, 5 percent; Yum Brands (think KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), 8.5 percent.

We need to be careful when we hear President Obama  demonizing a private company.   His mindset is that the free market is evil and that making a profit is a bad thing.  What he doesn’t understand is that profits are what fuels research.  Profits allow for expansion which makes for more employment.

Everything and I do mean everything that the President seems to be about is expanding government control into every area of our lives and demonizing those who disagree with him. 

The free market has given us a great standard of living for the vast majority of people in this country.  President Obama, so far, has only given us more rules, less jobs, and less freedom.  I think I’ll keep the free market.

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