The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Larry McNeely
U.S. PIRG Health Care Advocate
Office: (202) 546-9707 x303

New Report Shows Insurers Reap Record Profits Even as Consumers Suffer

Statement by U.S. PIRG Health Care Advocate on New Report from HCAN


"Today's new report (PDF)
from the Health Care for
America Now
coalition presents evidence of market abuses by America's
health insurance industry. Over recent months, they have shed millions from
their coverage roles and spent a lower portion of their revenue on actual
medical care. Simultaneously, insurers' premiums climbed, not only faster than
wages or inflation, but faster than insurance plans' own spending on
medical care.

"Dropping coverage, hiking
rates, and skimping on benefits apparently aren't a last resort. They are a profitable
business strategy which, according to the HCAN report, yielded record profits
in 2009 and has put insurers on pace towards record profits again this year.

"Fortunately, the new
health care law will, within the next few months, put an end to the worst of
these abuses, by ending rescissions and pre-existing condition exclusions for
children, and establishing new standards requiring insurers to spend 80 to 85
percent of our premium dollars on care, not overhead and corporate profits. For
consumers, the new rules couldn't come a moment too soon."

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.