The federal government makes all the rules, after all, including who "wins" and who "loses." As usual, ordinary Americans are losing in the form of sky-high prices coupled with rock-bottom "care." And the one percenters at the top are raking in all the profits.
The so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) was Barack Hussein Obama's "solution" to the problem of the health insurance industry's greed-over-care model of doing business. All these years later, though, Obamacare, as the ACA is also called, has only made things worse.
Instead of realigning the system back to something that even resembles fair and honest, Obamacare simply created a whole new set of problems while failing to fix any of the old ones.
Under Obamacare, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) was selected as the "winner" to make health care "fair" and "affordable" for all Americans. What it did instead was create a health care monopoly whereby the one percenters are still shoveling all that cash into their own private coffers while screwing Americans.
"Apparently when Obama said 'at a certain point, you've made enough money,' he was not counting corporate insurance beneficiaries of his signature legislation," says Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government.
(Related: A couple months ago, a Portland woman was denied cancer treatment because she was caught criticizing transgenderism.)
While Democrats did, at least on the surface, try to use Obamacare to level the playing field with the imposition of a medical loss ratio (MLR), UnitedHealth simply maneuvered around it to continue bilking the public while padding the pockets of industry executives.
The MLR, by the way, stipulates that insurance companies have to spend 80 to 85 percent of all premium revenues on actual health care "so executives wouldn't be able to pad their wallets as much."
With the MLR capping profits for claims reimbursements, all UnitedHealth had to do was rely on other aspects of its diversified business interests to wiggle around the law.
"In a Freakonomics-style 'people respond very strongly to incentives,' the MLR instead created the financial imperative for insurance companies to become even more powerful rather than less," Manning writes.
How did UnitedHealth do this? It simply consolidated the pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) industry, which is one of its many business interests, by acquiring PacifiCare Health Systems in 2005 and rebranding it as "OptumRx." Ten years after that, UnitedHealth purchased Catamaran, the nation's fourth-largest PBM, for just under $13 billion.
These two purchases allowed UnitedHealth to create a monopoly that is still able to legally function within the confines of Obamacare while skirting the spirit of it.
"See PBMs exist ostensibly to serve as a negotiator between pharmaceutical and insurance companies," Manning explains.
"In theory, that's a great idea, but not if one of those two parties owns the PBM. It's like if the mob owns a law firm. The three biggest PBMs are each owned by a large insurer: Caremark is owned by CVS/Aetna, and Express Scripts is owned by Cigna."
"Insurance companies use their PBMs to drive up prescription drug prices for patients. A U.S. House Oversight Committee report found that PBMs force drug manufacturers to increase their list price so that PBMs can pad their profits with bigger 'rebates.'"
The lesson, as usual, is that America is a greed pit run by greed pigs who, no matter how many laws are passed, will never stop scamming and ripping off the less fortunate, including within the very systems they run that claim to "help" people by providing "care."
The latest Big Pharma news can be found at BadMedicine.news.
Sources for this article include: