Outrage of the Day: A Rockefeller Questioning Profits

Senator John D. Rockfeller IV (D-WV) has sent a letter to the top 15 health insurance companies asking them to report how profitable they are. In part because Rockefeller is a Senate Committee chairman, the letters carry with them the threat of an implied subpoena if the companies don’t respond.

The day he had the letters sent, Rockefeller said in a statement, “Too often consumers are not getting a fair deal for what they pay, they are not getting the protections they deserve, and the insurance companies are awash in profit.”

How does he know? He can’t have received any replies yet.

As the Senator’s condemnation of the replies before he received them implies, this is grandstanding, not research. Health insurance companies report their profits to various regulators.

Why, if the Senator honestly wanted to know, he could have Googled it. I did.

From the August 5, 2009 Wall Street Journal:

‘For every premium dollar that they take in, about 83 cents goes out in medical costs — doctors, hospitals, and drugs,’ says Carl McDonald, health insurance analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. The rest is spent on overhead. Net income comes to just a few cents per dollar of premiums.

More Google results here, here, and here, among many others.

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The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.