Bonuses are well and good, but the goal was wage gains over the long term.
You probably haven't heard -- at least not lately -- that some of the biggest health insurers are moving full steam ahead to merge with each other, which means that tens of millions of us -- yes, millions -- will be affected next year. And not in a good way.
Give us our merger or we'll quit Obamacare, the insurer told Justice Department officials in a July letter.
Folks, we are guilty of magical thinking. We've fallen for insurers' deception and misdirection, hook, line and sinker. And many of us can't be persuaded that we are being duped. Meanwhile, the shareholders of the big for-profits are laughing all the way to the bank. Every single day.
The health care plan is a work in progress, and will be for a while.
Doctors aren't thrilled about two huge deals between insurers.
If regulators approve the recently announced mega-deals in which Aetna, Inc. would buy Humana Inc. and Anthem Inc. would buy Cigna Corp., will consumers benefit? Or will the winners be limited primarily to the executives and shareholders of the companies involved?
When the CEOs of Aetna and Humana announced a few days ago that they had agreed to a deal in which Aetna will pay $37 billion for Louisville-based Humana, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pointed the finger of blame straight at Obamacare.
Among the losers -- in addition to the people enrolled in the insurers' health plans -- will be many of the employees of the acquired companies, and taxpayers in the cities that come out on the short end of the stick when the combined companies decide where the corporate headquarters will be.
ANTITRUST ISSUES The bigger the insurer, the more power it has negotiating prices and improving its doctor networks. The
If you think costs would come down if hospitals were all owned and operated by big for-profit corporations like Hospital Corporation of America, you might want to take a look at a study published last week by the journal Health Affairs.
Remember Blockbuster? In its heyday -- which wasn't so long ago -- Blockbuster had 60,000 employees and 9,000 locations. For most Americans, for a minute anyway, it was the place to rent a movie.
The health insurance industry took advantage of Washington's infamous revolving door last week when it named former Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, perceived by many to be a liberal Democrat, as the face of its latest K Street-operated front group.
Among those who apparently have not yet benefited much at all, at least so far, are owners of small businesses who would like to keep offering coverage to their employees but can no longer afford it. They can't afford it because insurers keep jacking their rates up so high every year that more and more of them are dropping employee health benefits altogether.
Insurers know the president won't allow the law to be repealed or even altered substantially, which will be good for future profits, and they also know they can count on the Republicans to push through legislation to get rid of the health plan tax and let them sell low-value policies again.
Regardless of where you live, you should check out those rankings before selecting your insurance carrier for 2015. You'll find that, just as in California, the nonprofits lead the pack and the for-profits are eating their dust.