Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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The more things change ...

If you are still steaming over impending health insurance premium increases, or get angry (one way or the other) when someone mentions “Obamacare,” then you probably should stop reading this.

Late this afternoon, we spotted a headline that said the stock market was moving higher ahead of the mid-term election results. So of course we had to have a look.

When we checked the tickers toward the end of the trading day, the Dow as up a little over a half percent (somewhere around 60 points), the NASDAQ was up about 1 percent and the S&P 500 had risen about 0.75 percent. Decent increases, but nothing exceptional.

At the same time, on a whim, we checked to see how the health insurance sector was doing. Interestingly enough, the health insurance sector as a whole had gone up more than four times what the Dow had—a composite 2.4 percent by late afternoon.

Within the sector, the top 10 intraday increases belonged pretty much to the big health insurance companies you’d expect. Increases among them during the trading day ranged from about 2.25 percent to just over 4 percent.

While we don’t pretend to be Wall Street wizards, and all of these numbers may mean nothing, we can’t help thinking that that those who invest in health insurance stocks believe that the anticipated turnover of control of (at least) the House is going to improve the financial success of those companies. More profits, and so on.

Nothing wrong with profits, of course. Almost anyone who owns a mutual fund probably has some indirect ownership of health insurance stocks. A lot of the big firms reported very healthy earnings in the latest quarter. And companies are in business to make money for shareholders like you. Shareholders with high insurance premiums.

What does it all mean? Is there a way to adjust the system so everyone benefits? You tell us. We’re too tired to think about it anymore.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Nov 02, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Sat, Nov 6, 2010 Texas

Responsible spending should not scare anyone. To say that the Tea Party is not on "our" side is implying that the taxpayer should pay for everyone's ride.

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 Editor

In response to Gerry: You can in fact, for the most part, find out who is giving to whom in politics. The Federal Election Commission has made it a lot easier to find that info on its Web site. Another good source is the Center for Responsive Politics, at

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 Gerry House Hayden Lake, Idaho

I also was disappointed that the health insurance companies "gained" so much in the election. Their "gains" have traditionally been on the backs of those of us that pay those increasing premiums. It seems that our negotiators in OPM are too weak or may even politically aligned with those that we trust to watch out for our interests. We need to have representatives that know what is going on and make the health care negotiations more visible. It would be particularly helpful to have disclosure of Congressional representatives that get large political donations from the health care industry. The prescription bill of the Bush era is an example of how bad the average citizen can be ill served. The non-negotiation aspect of dealing with drug purchases was a disaster for many of our citizens. We need to be alert to what is going on and disclosure of the legislatures that don't represent the interests of public employees. We could be a pretty strong force if we weren't so darned ignorant about what is going on. I saw the election of several Congressman in Idaho that were "tea party" representative that are definitely not on our side.

Wed, Nov 3, 2010

good, I hope they make obscene profits so our TSP funds invested in C and S funds go up dramatically....

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 Carl Savannah, GA

Whichever way the pendulum swings, there are big businesses and profits on each side. One advantage to Big business is that overhead to the payer is less than if government run. Thi country was built on bottom up activity and growth, not top down. (By top down I mean Government or Monopolies sanctioned by the government). Solution? Remove the laws that prevent competition. Get big business/ monopolies and Government off the back of small businesses. Small business is the machine that grows the economy. Preventing that growth is criminal and parasitical.

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