I Am Hoodwinked By Anthem Blue Cross.

You may find this hard to believe, but I have, at times, been accused of having an anti-corporate bias. Perhaps because I have pointed out on occasion that the word "corporation" never appears in the Constitution, the first three words of which are "We The People"

Maybe it has something to do with the number of times the words "pud sucking" and "Big Pharma" appear in close proximity here in my little blog garden.

It might even have a little to do with how I'll occasionally criticize a corporation like Anthem Blue Cross when they plan to do things like raise health insurance premiums up to 39% without giving the corporation a chance to respond.

Today, however, I am a new man. In recognition of the corporation's newly expanded free speech rights, I resolve this day to respectfully listen to their side of the story. This morning I awoke and dove into the Google news archives to educate myself on the issue of Anthem's requested rate increases. I found this from the February 12th issue of the Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON-- The head of the major health insurer that wants to boost rates in California by up to 39 percent defended her company before Congress on Wednesday, saying the increases would be tough for many customers but were necessitated by soaring medical costs.

Well that seems reasonable. Medical costs certainly are soaring.  At a rate of 6.9% in 2009. I wonder if it would be biased of me to point out that 6.9 is less than 39%.

In prepared testimony for a House investigative subcommittee, Angela Braly, president of WellPoint Inc., blamed the increases on the growing price tags for hospital care and pharmaceuticals. She also cited the ailing economy, which has caused many younger, healthier people to save money by dropping coverage, leaving her company covering an older, sicker population.

Oh, well that will teach me to go around shooting off my mouth before I know all the facts. Anthem has a perfectly reasonable explanation for why their rate of premium increase is over 4 times as much as the cost of the product they are insuring.

"Raising our premiums was not something we wanted to do,"  Braly said. "But we believe this was the most prudent choice."

Oh. They didn't want to take more of people's money. I see.  I guess taking money kinda sucks for them, the way going to the gym kinda sucks for me.

Braly expressed some sympathy.
"Clearly, we understand that rate increases create a challenge for many of our members," Braly said. "However, it is important to know that many of our members often have a choice of coverage."

Wow. I was so wrong. Angela Braly really sounds like a nice person. So understanding of the challenges facing her members. Many of whom even have a choice.

I'm sorry Anthem. I hope you can forgive me for ever questioning your motives. For ever thinking that putting an entity whose sole purpose is to generate as many dollars as possible for its shareholders in charge of lessening people's pain and suffering might not be the best idea. How can I make it up to you?

Oh look, here's another story about you in today's paper:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross, the company criticized by President Barack Obama when it proposed raising rates for Californians by as much as 39 percent, withdrew plans for the proposed hike Thursday.
Los Angeles-based Anthem made the decision after an independent audit determined the company's justification for raising premiums was based on flawed data, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said.
"The current application that was withdrawn today was just flawed," Poizner said during a conference call with reporters. He added that it contained mathematical errors and in some instances double counting of data.

Huh. Well now I kinda feel like how Wile E. Coyote must have felt after he gave Acme Corp.another chance.

I wonder if it's biased to point out here that it was a government agency that kept us here in California from getting ass-raped by the private free market? And that maybe you should keep that in mind the next time you hear someone say the government can't do anything right?

Is it bias if you're also correct?

Of course if you think I'm wrong, by all means you can go write out a big fat check payable to Anthem Blue Cross. As much as it pains them, I'm sure they'd find a way to cash it.

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I Am Hoodwinked By Anthem Blue Cross.
I Am Hoodwinked By Anthem Blue Cross.
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