Many fingers have been pointed at health insurance companies, but this week one of the biggest ones, Blue Shield of California, lashed out at some of the 1 percenter doctors who actually hand them the bill.
UCLA Medical Center. The insurer took out full-page ads today in the UCLA Daily Bruin and Santa Monica Daily Press. (Blue Shield also says a similar ad will run in this week's LA Weekly).
According to the copy:
UCLA Medical Center's profits have soared to double-digit levels in recent years. At the same time, the rates they charge Blue Shield customers have risen 98 percent since mid-2006. Their current profit margin of 16.8 percent is more than four times the statewide average for hospitals. Now they're demanding even more.
We think it's time to say "enough" is too much.
To be fair, Blue Shield is in the midst of a contract impasse with UCLA that could keep the Medical Center out of its physicians' network.
And, also to be fair, many corporations would scoff at a 17 percent profit margin. Even many lowly newspapers matched or beat that in the 1990s.
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The insurer put out a press release today calling on UCLA to do its part to "make health care affordable."
We called the school, where a spokeswoman noted that the UC system, including UCLA Medical Center, had just signed a deal with Anthem Blue Cross.
Other than that, she said, "I'm not aware of the advertisements."