It started out small, as small as one young man. He and his wife didn't have a fat investment portfolio, but they had one of decent size. Their holdings were varied, and included T-bills and bonds and utility stocks and high-tech stocks and stock in GE and WellPoint and P&G and a few others.
The young man was looking at his investments one morning, before heading off to work, and he thought about the conversation he'd had with his mother the previous night. She was going to sell her home of 33 years, the one she and his dad had closed on the precise day the young man had been conceived. It wasn't what she wanted, of course, but ever since his dad had gotten sick, it had been a downward spiral for the two of them. The health insurer had jacked up their premiums first 26% and then another 32% and then, finally, had cancelled them outright. One heart attack later, and the hospital bills were wiping them out.
He put his WellPoint stock on the block, and then he sent an email to everyone in his contact list, explaining why he couldn't, in good conscience, continue to profit off the evil that the health insurance industry was spreading. He likened those in the health insurance industry to the new money changers in the temple. If Jesus came back today, guess whose tables he would be turning over?
That one email provided the impetus for seven of his friends to dump their health insurance stock. All told, 13 forwarded his email to their contact lists. Three of them tweeted about it. One blogged of his friend's decision. And it blossomed from there.
Within three weeks, even those without good consciences were dumping the tanking health insurance industry stocks as a means of preserving the value of their own investment portfolios. Employees of health insurers, already ashamed to say where they worked, left to find places where they could work in good conscience. The Obama Administration had to step in to bail out the failing health insurance industry. With good conscience strings attached.
[Fantastical tale of when pigs fly, written for Sunday Scribblings this week. A shout-out to Dee Martin for her likening of the health insurers to the temple money changers.]
Did you know "the nation's five largest health insurance companies racked up combined profits of $12.2 billion - up 56 percent over 2008"? And do you know what the spokesperson for their lobbyist group said? "It is disingenuous to look at the profits at one company today compared to where it was in the depth of a recession." Hey, asshole, forget the year-over-year increase, you agent of Satan, let's just talk $12.2 billion in profits. How many people did you consign to death last year?]
[Sources: Tribune Newspapers; Health Care for America Now. Photo courtesy: ScienceBlogs.com.]
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