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WellPoint CEO; Public Option Not An Option

WellPoint CEO Angela Braly told the Economic Club of  Indiana today that it was time to reform health care and not just health insurance.

Braly said she providing more people with coverage without getting costs under control will only make the system worse.  She said pointed to the Massachusetts plan where coverage was expanded however cost increased.

She said that 30% of health care spending is wasted and that insurance companies support making sure everyone has insurance and that individuals with pre-existing conditions can be pooled with other high risk customers.

Braly also said she opposes a public option, in part, because insurance companies would be competing with the same entity which regulated them.

Braly spoke to reporters shortly after he speech.  You can hear those remarks below.

Angela Braly

  • malercous

    Wellpoint is against a public option, well, Duh. What else would you expect from an insurance company that makes it's profits from peoples' healthcare, compassion? Braly is against a public option because Wellpoint stands to lose, as well they should. It is morally wrong to benefit from something as critical as healthcare when the same service can be provided without the added overhead of profit.
    We used to have “free-market” fire departments at one time too, and does anyone (outside of the Republic party) want to go back to that? The free-market works great, but not for everything, and it certainly hasn't been working for healthcare.
    And again, Duh. Certainly insurance companies want everyone to be covered, that's more $ in their pockets. Corporations are not benificent organizations, they are out to make a buck–bottom line. If it were up to me I'd totally socialize health insurance and publicize the names & addresses of all corporations who lost out due to this so that people could send them a check for the difference of what they saved (under a single-payer plan) so there will still be profit for the CEO's & shareholders.

  • http://blog.masson.us/ Doug

    “individuals with pre-existing conditions can be pooled with other high risk customers.”

    Like an insurance ghetto for sick people!

  • Fact Checker

    Did Braley indicate how much she and the other Wellpoint execs have contributed to Evan Bayh to make sure that he opposes Obama and the public option??

  • pascal

    Government involvement in health care since WWII is the primary reason health care is a mess. Private fire departments are much better than public ones in this sense. Muncie reduced it's bloated fire department by 30 or 40% with no effect so far except to be able to balance its books. What government entity can be thought of that is not overstaffed, underworked, and too expensive for what it provides? Government always seeks to expand and grow…like the cancer it mutates into.

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  • wilson46201

    I assume “pascal” will tear up his Medicare card and promise never to use the services of that single-payer government-run healthcare insurance ?

  • Dave

    Fielding a team of referees isn't competition, it's rigging, to obscure an agenda. A Wellpoint employee tells me the public “option” will force the company to immediately lay off 5,000 employees!!! A thousand page cram is a tactic of bad faith; which discredits the entire proposal & its proponents.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    I don't agree with every stance by the married rabbis (Sasso), that write in the paper. But, I agree with their stance on the desperate need to continue our national debate, albeit rationally. From the Baueresque opening stance, way out in “left” field with 1000 pages of universal care that somehow won't ration or cost more- middle America has spoken and has disagrees.
    .
    I thank President Obama and Congress for some byproducts of this stance: cost concessions by some of the players and real, in-depth discussion on some topics, like “trading” pre-existing conditions for universal/mandatory participation. When we tackle tort reform, standardized plans crossing state lines, upfront pricing, the existent tax break, and particularly fiscal reality- then maybe we inch forward further.
    .
    The Star's (Sunday?) editorial had a pretty good summation, saying we have to break it into pieces- not a rush, political job. Flailing around with it forever is absolutely not acceptable. But, health care reform requires further painful public and private debate.

  • http://twitter.com/katzmandu Jonathan Katz

    With or without a “public option” and kind of health care overhaul has to be holistic, and done with the intent of healing a broken system rather than random acute symptoms. The whole point of the “public option” is to create an insurance pool for the group of people that the insurance industry refuses to cover, not to steal away existing customers.

    I'll pimp my own blog on the subject.

    http://vote4katz.com/?p=103

  • Dave

    “Public Option” is fascism. Americans have options. Government is unchartered & ill-suited to make any such determinations.

    The intrusive, negative mindedness of fascists, drives them not only to puppet policy over the lives of sovereign fellow citizens; but to impose their culture of death, resulting from a lack of humility & attention to the responsibilities for their own lives.

    Examples of their failures are everywhere:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6127514/S...

  • Think Again

    Dave, you rail against the public option and say those of us who favor it are somehow discredited.

    Right back atchya, pal. If only you knew how silly that sounds.

    I listened to Ms. Braly's speech in person. She is articulate and well-informed. She is advocating her company's position and at some point she'll no doubt resort to the employee card, as noted in Dave's post about layoffs. It is her right, just as it is our right to point out the obvious gaffes in her logic, which are many:

    If the option is good for the nation, and I happen to believe it is, the layoffs are tragic but necessary. We got the same argument when ATMs were introduced. We were asked “where are all the bank tellers going to go” ? Evey industry does its periodic purge, via innovation, regulation, attrition or leadership changes. Sometimes all of the above.

    Lest we forget: “Wellpoint” was, not so long ago, one of the Blue Cross “non-profits.” It worked much better. Lazy and greedy Congress critters allowed the Blue Crosses of the world to go for-profit, and the gates were opened. Other costly regulations are suspended or altered: anti-trust, state-by-state insurance policies, etc. They erred, big-time. The current national debate is part course-correction, part revolution. The unholy alliance forged between hospitals and Wellpoint and its brethern, is borderline criminal. It promotes and allows for gross suburban hospital over-building, whicih raises cost far beyond what's necessary. This never was and never will be a medical provider problem. It's a hosptial and insurance problem.

    I'm glad we have Wellpoint here, as a decent corporate citizen. But their stock-in-trade is part of an industry that's about to undergo some massive change, one way or another. I hate to lose jobs in our fair city, but the jobs were added because this not-so-distant-past Blue Cross company consolidated here.

    What if we were Detroit–home to our nation's autobuilders? They've dealt with the exact same question in a different industry–massive changes that forever alter the business model. Tens of thousands of jobs gone.

    I've dealt with Wellpoint and its minions, recently, on a relative's insurance policy. I know how they make money, and I don't even begrudge them, although I wouldn't do it for a living. If they have to decrease size/payroll, well…they've increased it on the backs of this ridiculous deregulation for many years. Ill-begotten gains?

    Their landscape is changing. Cry me some crocodile tears.

  • Dave

    There are folks with market wise, innovative solutions to the problem of access. But again, public options already exist & governments adoption of that phrase doesn't justify failure in the form of socialism. Government has a thoroughly discredited track record of business operation. Coercion, collusion & corruption of government & insurance companies is certainly a problem. It may seem quaint to subsidize the postal service or Amtrak, but it's not credible, market wise or investment grade practice.

    The idea that government belongs in any business other than defense, is intellectually barbaric. Government's job is to stay OUT OF THE WAY while citizens or professionals do what they know how to do.

    Health care is a business, an industry; not a right. No one has the right, by pretense of “policy,” to enslave anyone (health care professionals in this case) or redistribute their sovereignty in the confiscation of their talents or labor. There's nothing righteous or holy about government stealing from people; buying votes for bloat.

  • CEinWF

    Think Again, by your previous posts I don't think you understand how insurance makes money. Please prove me wrong.

  • CEinWF

    Think Again, by your previous posts I don't think you understand how insurance makes money. Please prove me wrong.

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