Speaking of Aetna

A federal judge has ruled that Aetna lied when it claimed they were pulling out of Obamacare in 15 states due to them losing money.  It turns out they made their decision in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $37-billion merger with Humana.  This article is found in the LA Times but I find it troubling in a couple of ways.  One, I am disgusted by these insurers, who were handed money with all the new enrollees via the ACA.  They even hedged their bet by raising prices EVERYWHERE, in and out of the exchange.  Their profits have been insane yet they cry poor mouth.

The second troubling piece about the article is the spin the LA Times puts on it.  They turn this ruling about “insurers leaving Obamacare” into a political attack stating “the judge’s conclusions about Aetna’s real reasons for pulling out of Obamacare — as opposed to the rationalization the company made in public — are crucial for the debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act”.

Ummm, sorry, the debate is over.  The ACA doesn’t work.

Even if insurers did NOT leave these states these companies still would be gouging us all!  They were gouging us before they decided to leave.  Yes, they lied about leaving.  Who cares?  I accept the fact that they are lying all the time.  Them staying still did not make Obamacare affordable because they were in cahoots with the government to game the system in their favor.  The house always wins and they are the house.

It is time to bring in real competition so the house crumbles.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  8 comments for “Speaking of Aetna

  1. Leslie
    January 26, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    And how does this make sense? Bruce Broussard would be due a parachute package of $40.2 million. That includes about $6 million in severance pay, with most of the rest coming when Broussard cashes out stock.

    As we previously reported, Humana sweetened the deal for Broussard just hours before leaders announced Aetna’s plan to acquire the company. Broussard’s previous parachute had been reported last March as a total of $16.9 million.

    But Humana notified federal regulators on July 2, the day before the deal was announced, that it wanted to change Broussard’s compensation, making all of his time-based stock options vested and exercisable on the date he’s terminated.

    Aetna leadership previously has said it’s still figuring out how it will fold Humana into its structure, but that “stay bonuses” are in place for people who are key to the ongoing business operations.

    Broussard’s not the only Humana executive with a parachute. Others listed in the SEC filing include:

    Brian A. Kane, senior vice president and CFO, with a compensation package worth almost $9 million;
    James E. Murray, executive vice president and COO, $25 million;
    Jody Bilney, senior vice president and chief consumer officer, $12.5 million;
    Timothy S. Huval, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, just over $16 million.

    And to think of all the “productive hours” of meetings and legal fees

  2. John Stewart
    January 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Has everyone forgot they were gouging us BEFORE the ACA?

    • Doug Farrago
      January 25, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      No. I mention that all the time

    • Mary McDaniel
      January 26, 2017 at 12:49 am

      Not me. I went two years after retiring from my insurance I had while employed, without insurance, waiting for medicare to kick in. In the mean time ACA kicked in and an HMO was all I could afford. So, no. I have not forgotten.

  3. C Koop Jr
    January 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    There must be a viable replacement for the ACA that covers all those enrolled, includes the dependent coverage to age 26 years, includes the coverage for pre-existing illness clause, includes coverage for preventive care, and an allowance for insurers to cross state borders. The last item will cause competition and hopefully reduce costs.

    • Tom Horiagon MD
      January 25, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Inter-state competition of health insurers has been tried, most recently in Georgia (2011). Insurers are not interested in selling across state lines when given this “freedom”. They barely want to sell policies in rural areas of states where they are licensed to sell. The reason is that rural populations are sicker (patient factors) and fewer providers with high fixed costs means little negotiation leverage (delivery factors).

      Rand Paul’s S222 wants to allow these sales and requires the passage of an unconstitutional provision that sales would be regulated by the state where the insurer is located rather than the state where the policy is bought.

      Calling for the US to “give freedom a try” in health care when there is so much concentrated corporate and personal wealth is a preposterous sham.

  4. Tom Horiagon MD
    January 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    There was a great of crony capitalism left in the PPACA because that is all the lobbyists would allow Congress to pass. A public option would have limited much of this abuse and, even today, a limited “rural public option” would be politically acceptable to all but the lobbyists.

    The PPACA insurance market problems were baked into the cake and the GOP is about to reward the health insurers with higher profits.

    Look at the details of Rand Paul’s S222 monstrosity: It’s more “Back to the Future”.

  5. Mary McDaniel
    January 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    If there were a likes comment it would have a jillion likes. I have an HMO, which is the only one I could afford on a social security check. It gives me a physical at 100% one time per year to know what is wrong with me, if anything. But it only pays for treatment at 80%. So if I have to have treatment, my bill can be 10 times my income per year. So I have the issue of do I find out I am dying and never have another dime to live on, or do I shaft the people who are caring for me by walking out on the unpaid bill. Or do I go to an urgent care facility when I am in cardiac distress and hope I just die there so I don’t have to deal with it any more.

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