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Retreats, Million-Dollar Salaries Paid For As Anthem Blue Cross Sought Rate Hike
Sacramento Bee ^ | February 24, 2010 | Rob Hotakainen

Posted on 02/24/2010 2:33:01 PM PST by Steelfish

Retreats, Million-Dollar Salaries Paid For As Anthem Blue Cross Sought Rate Hike

Rob Hotakainen

WASHINGTON - While Anthem Blue Cross proposed a 39 percent rate increase on thousands of its California customers, its parent company paid 39 of its executives more than $1 million each and spent more than $27 million on 103 lavish executive retreats, congressional investigators say.

"One question we asked is where does all of this money go?" Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles said at a House subcommittee hearing today. "Corporate executives at WellPoint are thriving, while its policyholders are paying the price."

In response to the company's proposed rate hike, Congress is weighing a new plan that would create a new federal agency to oversee proposed rate hikes.

Critics say the federal government has no business setting prices in the private sector, though proponents say it's the only way to rein in greedy companies that increasingly are taking advantage of consumers.

The new rate authority board is the brainchild of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who called Anthem's proposed rate hike "unconscionable."

Her idea won a key endorsement on Monday from President Barack Obama, who wants it included in any new health-care bill that Congress considers this year.

(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: anthem; retreats

1 posted on 02/24/2010 2:33:01 PM PST by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish

Government control of their salaries. We all knew this was coming.


2 posted on 02/24/2010 2:35:36 PM PST by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: Steelfish

Sounds like the junkets that congress took to copenhagen...on our dime....


3 posted on 02/24/2010 2:37:04 PM PST by JoanneSD
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To: JoanneSD

“Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”


4 posted on 02/24/2010 2:39:16 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Nachum
Did the same congressional investigators talk about the salary increase the congress voted in for itself and the FACT that NONE of the congress dirtbags and their families have to DEAL with the universal health care because they have EXEMPTED themselves from the same crap they want to lay on the rest of the world?

DID these same investigators INFORM us of the amount the congressmen and women pay in health care insurance compared to what WE PAY? ( They pay approx. five hundred dollars PER YEAR for their coverage! ) Did they EXPLAIN why they get BETTER and MUCH CHEAPER CARE than they are forcing upon us?

And BTW---has ANYONE in congress explained to AMERICANS why the PRIME MINISTER of CANADA just chose to have his heart surgery for a valve defect performed in a FLORIDA HOSPITAL because he did not want to make his fellow citizens MAD at him for jumping the long line for the surgery in Canada NOR , as the Prime Minister said himself, did he sign up for inferior health care just because he wanted to be a politician.

Nice going.

I guess the leadership, no matter what the country, gets the best deal, and SCREW the little guy they ROB everyday.

5 posted on 02/24/2010 2:42:12 PM PST by Republic (I love Rush)
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To: Steelfish

Congress mandated that Medical Insurance companies couldn’t compete across state lines - so we have 1,300+ individual medical insurance companies, each one working in collusion within the state in which they are allowed to operate.

If all 1,300 companies could compete across state lines, like they can for my home owners insurance, and my car insurance - then not only would competition drive down the prices we pay, it would force these companies to run their programs competitively.


6 posted on 02/24/2010 2:46:53 PM PST by Hodar (Who needs laws .... when this "feels" so right?)
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To: Steelfish
Waxman asked where does all the money go?.........Really?

Just keep diggin fellas.

7 posted on 02/24/2010 2:47:48 PM PST by blackdog
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To: Steelfish
Execs like this are slitting the throat of Capitalism
8 posted on 02/24/2010 2:49:00 PM PST by Red in Blue PA (If guns cause crime, then all of mine are defective!)
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To: Steelfish

California approved the rate increase for a small segment of individual policy holders.

Seems to me a lot of $$$$ went to the CA pols.


9 posted on 02/24/2010 2:49:56 PM PST by Carley
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To: Hodar

Wellpoint’s profit margin is in the neighborhood of 3%. Health insurers, in general, do not make much of a profit. It’s pathetic even compared to the oil companies.


10 posted on 02/24/2010 2:50:43 PM PST by flintsilver7 (Honest reporting hasn't caught on in the United States.)
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To: Republic
This whole meeting is nothing but drivel.

If you took all the bonuses PLUS the $380 million profit from the sale of one of Anthem's assets, their actuary said that the company would only be able to return under $6 dollars a month to their policy holders. Some of the conventions were for the agents who sell the products as a reward.

The company's actuary said the company built in a 2% profit. It is one of the lowest profit margins in large industry.

11 posted on 02/24/2010 2:55:17 PM PST by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: Steelfish
Typical Leftist disinformation. Anthem had to increase their prices because the economy had caused a large number of policy holders to drop out. And they paid million dollar salaries because they were tied to contracts.

This lying propaganda is exactly what Hugo Chavez did to demonize the "rich" and take over Venezuela with his "poor people's revolution".

12 posted on 02/24/2010 2:56:24 PM PST by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: blackdog
When Waxman asked... "... where does all the money go?"

I would have said eventually to the U.S. Treasury ... got to pay for "O's" and your pet socialism experiments (which are doomed to failure).

13 posted on 02/24/2010 2:56:25 PM PST by Trajan88 (www.bullittclub.com)
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To: Republic

In point of fact, The voters still maintain the ability to fire the majority of congress every two years and sweep it broom clean within six.
The banks and insurance companies have shown that they own our elected representatives, our tax dollars and our treasury.
This is just a spat between Thurston B Howell and Lovie.
Don’t be alarmed. They will make up soon.


14 posted on 02/24/2010 2:58:20 PM PST by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Steelfish

Insurance agencies — the next EVIL. Disgusting government take-over of private enterprise and salaries.

Smells like Marxism to me. Couched in ‘protecting the people’ of course.


15 posted on 02/24/2010 3:01:21 PM PST by bboop (We don't need no stinkin' VAT)
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To: Red in Blue PA

“Execs like this are slitting the throat of Capitalism”

First, Anthem is a monster sized company so 30 or 40 salaries in excess of 1 million is no travesty. Second, these retreats are prizes for independent sales agents and a function of reducing costs by increasing market share. Blue Cross of CA, the evildoer in the current story line, is a for profit insurer kicking the crud out of the other two top three carriers in CA, Blue Shield and Kaiser...both of whom are non profits by the way.


16 posted on 02/24/2010 3:07:38 PM PST by Bogeygolfer
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To: Red in Blue PA

Nonsense. It’s people that think *anyone* is making “too much” that is slitting the throat of capitalism.

As if doing without raises and bonuses would change the math on their rate structure even a bit. It wouldn’t. It’s literally a drop in a bucket.


17 posted on 02/24/2010 3:09:38 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Nachum
Did the same congressional investigators talk about the salary increase the congress voted in for itself and the FACT that NONE of the congress dirtbags and their families have to DEAL with the universal health care because they have EXEMPTED themselves from the same crap they want to lay on the rest of the world?

DID these same investigators INFORM us of the amount the congressmen and women pay in health care insurance compared to what WE PAY? ( They pay approx. five hundred dollars PER YEAR for their coverage! ) Did they EXPLAIN why they get BETTER and MUCH CHEAPER CARE than they are forcing upon us?

And BTW---has ANYONE in congress explained to AMERICANS why the PRIME MINISTER of CANADA just chose to have his heart surgery for a valve defect performed in a FLORIDA HOSPITAL because he did not want to make his fellow citizens MAD at him for jumping the long line for the surgery in Canada NOR , as the Prime Minister said himself, did he sign up for inferior health care just because he wanted to be a politician.

Nice going.

I guess the leadership, no matter what the country, gets the best deal, and SCREW the little guy they ROB everyday.

18 posted on 02/24/2010 3:20:26 PM PST by Republic (I love Rush)
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To: Bogeygolfer

I am not a cheerleader for Republicans. The fact is this looks bad to most Americans. You can either acknowledge this fact, or keep your heads in the sand. Having lavish retreats while you raise rates nearly 40% is not the right thing to do, no matter how you look at it.

And if you think WS execs deserved million dollar bonuses while they tanked their companies and then the economy, let’s just agree to disagree.


19 posted on 02/24/2010 3:22:10 PM PST by Red in Blue PA (If guns cause crime, then all of mine are defective!)
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To: Nachum

Welcome to communism.


20 posted on 02/24/2010 3:23:02 PM PST by MinorityRepublican
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To: Republic

It’s not either/or. It can be both.

Both Congress and big business can be corrupt.

In much of this country, what we now have is not capitalism when failure is rewarded with bonuses and golden parachutes.


21 posted on 02/24/2010 3:23:25 PM PST by Red in Blue PA (If guns cause crime, then all of mine are defective!)
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To: Red in Blue PA

“I am not a cheerleader for Republicans. The fact is this looks bad to most Americans. You can either acknowledge this fact, or keep your heads in the sand. Having lavish retreats while you raise rates nearly 40% is not the right thing to do, no matter how you look at it.

And if you think WS execs deserved million dollar bonuses while they tanked their companies and then the economy, let’s just agree to disagree.”

Agreeing to disagree is fine however it’s best we have the same set of facts. This is not about Wall Street bonuses or lavish retreats. This is about base salaries of executives in a huge company. Here in CA where Anthem Blue Cross is a subsidiary, a 1 million dollar salary is not unusual. Sorry but that’s the simple truth. Second, these are not lavish retreats for executives. These are sales conferences/rewards for the foot soldiers out selling their policies. If you sell enough you get a free trip. If they don’t offer these, the agents will sell Blue Shield or Health Net. It’s good business pure and simple.
I have already written to and recieved a response from their media dept re the inappropriate timing of the rate increase but let’s not confuse that with the current story. The media and left is lying and misrepresenting the facts. If you let them walk all over a legitimate business endeavor, where do we draw the line.
With respect to the increase in rates, they are only allowed to increase the rates once every 12 months. That means if they passed this opportunity they would take it in the shorts for 12 months. I would have preferred they operate at a loss for 12 months to avoid loading the gun as it were but I see their problem. If they pass on this increase, do they increase it double in 12 months? Most of the insured can always switch to one of the non profit carriers...except Anthem tends to be the most competitive along with Kaiser. How do you respond to their rates being below a non profit like Blue Shield over any measurable period? They are a very efficiently run company and their profit margin is far less than people expect. The article is misleading in every facet.


22 posted on 02/24/2010 3:31:59 PM PST by Bogeygolfer
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To: Bogeygolfer

You are so very lucky to live in California where Million Dollar yearly salaries are the norm. Us dumbshits in the midwest, well it just isn’t like that here. But we swoon at your wonderfulness.


23 posted on 02/24/2010 4:15:45 PM PST by nkycincinnatikid
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To: nkycincinnatikid

But waaaaay back in the day, here in the midwest we had companies that ruled the world, Take for example General Motors. They could produce millions of cars and every one working there must have existed like monks because they did it on only 4 or 5 % profit. And, Hey no one could touch them, they owned the friggin industry. WHADDA CUMPNY! It could never end.


24 posted on 02/24/2010 4:26:50 PM PST by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Red in Blue PA

Why not just allow more competition, like across state lines? Inefficient companies would get beaten in the marketplace, and Congress could stay the hell out of it. The answer to problems caused by regulation is not more regulation.

Oh, and “Execs like this” may or may not be worth $1 million each. Again, the market should decide this, not Congress. In a true free market nobody could “slit the throat of capitalism.” Those who don’t provide a quality service at a fair price wouldn’t last. But we don’t have a true free market (especially with health care), and the screams are always to INCREASE the regulation that causes the problems in the first place.


25 posted on 02/24/2010 4:31:31 PM PST by VegasCowboy ("...he wore his gun outside his pants, for all the honest world to feel.")
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To: JoanneSD
Wonder how many millions it costs up for all 0 nearly nightly parties at the WH?

OBAMANOMICS--TRICKLE DOWN DESTRUCTION of the economy

SET THEIR LOCAL AND DC LINES ON FIRE!

Sen Scott Brown's number is 202-224-4543

Capitol Hill switchboard is 202-224-3121

Lots of local demwit phone numbers on this thread.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2408217/posts

Rename, repackage, rewrite it a tad smaller, and sell another pig in a poke.

Tennessee has joined several other states in trying to pass a Health Care Freedom Act. NO COLAs for granny, retired Military or retired fed employees. BIG NEW fees for Tricare for Life retired over 65 Military's secondary health ins. (DOD bill already passed, delayed but goes into effect 2011)

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/10/military_tricarefees_blocked_100709w/

New Dem mantra: Woof, woof eat dog food granny....ala let them eat cake.

OBAMA’s WAR ON SENIORS

Friday, February 19, 2010

Obama says slight fix will extend Social Security

http://townhall.com/news/us/2010/02/19/obama_says_slight_fix_will_extend_social_security

Health Care Rationing for Seniors Another Problem in New Obama Plan

http://www.lifenews.com/bio3058.html

Socialized Med Thread

TRI CARE FOR LIFE This from a google search:

http://economicspolitics.blogspot.com/2009/05/tricare-for-life-is-obama-trying-to.html

This option would help reduce the costs of TFL, as well as costs for Medicare, by introducing minimum out-of pocket requirements for beneficiaries. Under this option, TFL would not cover any of the first $525 of an enrollee’s cost-sharing liabilities for calendar year 2011 and would limit coverage to 50 percent of the next $4,725 in Medicare cost sharing that the beneficiary incurred. (Because all further cost sharing would be covered by TFL, enrollees could not pay more than $2,888 in cost sharing in that year.)

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9925/12-18-HealthOptions.pdf

http://www.vawatchdog.org/09/hcva09/hcva110609-1.htm

Bill Would Restrict Veterans’ Health Care Options 11/06/09

Buyer and McKeon Offer Amendments to Protect Veterans and TRICARE Beneficiaries

Congress plans to block Tricare fee increases
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/10/military_tricarefees_blocked_100709w

By Rick Maze - Staff writer, Oct 7, 2009

Tricare fee increases imposed last week by the Defense Department will be repealed by a provision of the compromise 2010 defense authorization bill unveiled Wednesday by House and Senate negotiators.

Snip

The fee increases were announced on Sept. 30 and took effect on Oct. 1, but the defense bill, HR 2647, includes a provision barring any fee increases until the start of fiscal 2011.

Snip

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Bill Matz, president of the National Association for Uniformed Services, said the announcement of fee increases was shocking considering that the Obama administration promised earlier this year to hold off on any new fee Tricare fee increases until fiscal 2011.

“President Obama and DoD assured NAUS and the entire military family earlier this year that there would rightly be no increases in any Tricare fees” in fiscal 2010, Matz said. “We took them at their word, and I can’t believe that a co-pay increase like this was allowed to go forward,” he added.

Bambi doesn't keep his promises...so buyer beware.

26 posted on 02/24/2010 4:44:57 PM PST by GailA (obamacare paid for by cuts & taxes on most vulnerable Veterans, disabled,seniors & retired Military)
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To: nkycincinnatikid

I appreciated your thoughtful and to the point post. Yeah. Where did I say million dollar salaries are the norm? You’re response is as bad as the typical MSM trash. I said they are the norm for fortune 500 company execs who live in CA. For the record, a million dollar salary here is slightly under 500K after taxes due to CA taxes at over 10%. If you live in a 3000 square foot home, you are paying around 120K a year in mortgage payments. The million soon becomes 380K after just your house. Add to that everything here is more expensive. I’m not saying a 1M salary is not fantastic, even in the above example, but I am saying it’s not unlimited wealth unless you can pull it off for 20 years running. We are also talking about someone directly responsible for thousands of employees. I tend to respect someone who can pull down that kind of salary and I don’t begrudge them or portray them as evil either. I certainly don’t resent them for their success.


27 posted on 02/25/2010 8:36:46 AM PST by Bogeygolfer
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To: Bogeygolfer

“million dollar salary here is slightly under 500K”

You poor soul. You forgot to subtract from that salary the amount attributable to the federal and state gas tax, and sales tax.

You should probably apply for food stamps.


28 posted on 02/25/2010 8:39:45 AM PST by drb9
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To: Steelfish

“103 lavish executive retreats, congressional investigators say. “

Hmmm 2/wk...no doubt a few ‘RATS decided they need a piece of that as well....


29 posted on 02/25/2010 8:42:45 AM PST by mo
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To: Red in Blue PA

It costs money to retain top class employees and management otherwise they go to industries/businesses in other countries, sometimes, where companies will pay top dollar for experience and competence. It’s just a fact of life. It’s how capitalism works and how it weeds out the poor performers. Govt just doles out your $$$ to anyone whether they deserve it or not.


30 posted on 02/25/2010 8:43:54 AM PST by InvisibleChurch (i prefer my-partisan over bi-partisan)
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To: VegasCowboy

What is this about competition across state lines? Doesn’t United Healthcare already have a presence across state lines? Is Blue Cross limited to just one states? This makes no sense.

I think what you’ll find is that each state has requirements in order to sell a policy in that state. For example, some state mandates that a woman be permitted to stay in the hospital for at least three days after giving birth. Other states require mental health parity, meaning that the benefits for mental illness have to be as generous as for physical illness. Those extra benefits cost more, so there is price disparity state by state. If you’re in one of the states that requires greater benefits, the state is not going to let you buy a cheaper, less comprehensive policy from another state.

The “competition across state lines” is a canard.


31 posted on 02/25/2010 8:43:56 AM PST by drb9
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To: InvisibleChurch

Exactly. If nothing else, the fact that a company can afford to spend like this just shows that these folks were VERY good at their jobs. If they were able to make the company enough profit to do this, they deserve to enjoy a little of it as a reward.


32 posted on 03/15/2010 12:52:52 PM PDT by DanceOnMaosGrave
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To: DanceOnMaosGrave

Besides, the taxes yanked out of their bonuses go to the state govts to prop up flailing education systems among other boondoggles.


33 posted on 03/15/2010 1:54:09 PM PDT by InvisibleChurch (i prefer my-partisan over bi-partisan)
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