Insurance company profits up 41 percent

Health subcommittee chairman calls insurers to pass excessive profits on to customers by cutting premiums

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Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, has sent a letter to the top ten for-profit health insurance companies demanding they pass their excessive profits on to their customers by lowering premiums.

Stark reported Wednesday that the collective $9.3 billion in profits for the first nine months of 2010 is up an average of 41 percent over the same period last year.

This profit comes despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the foes of health care reform to blunt reform and ensure the absence of a public option. The health care industry as a whole sent an average of six lobbyists to every elected official on Capitol Hill to defeat reform.

The hunger for ever-increasing profits inevitably leads to the biggest sins that health reform has sought to correct … denying coverage, dropping coverage if someone gets sick and denying the ability to purchase health insurance to those who need it most.

Think about this when you hear newly elected members of the House promising to start the new Congress in January by immediately starting a fight for repeal of the hard-fought health reform gains consumers have made.

Think: would America perhaps be better served by a not-for-profit health care industry?