Shocking revelation: Businesses are in business to make money

I felt prompted to respond via comment on Ilovemygov‘s latest post about the recent discoveries in the Obamacare debacle.  Namely that an “Obamacare loophole will allow an estimated 3 million more Americans to join the Medicaid rolls in 2014.  This lucky group of people could be making as much as $64,000, including their Social Security, and still get Medicaid.”

I wanted to respond to a commenter, but decided to address it here. “Angela Wade” said:

Due to the fact that we have a for-profit healthcare system, it is necessary to have a fall back system to cover people that insurance companies refuse to insure.  It is not profitable for these companies to insure an elderly person who simply by the nature of getting older will have health problems.  It is not profitable to insure younger people with pre-existing conditions.

The bottom line, they do not have an incentive to insure these groups of people because it would cost them more than they would make in premiums.

This is a sentiment I see often from liberals with whom I discuss politics.  It appears that liberals believe businesses, such as insurance companies have an obligation to operate as a charity, or in a more charitable manner.

It’s no secret we have a “for-profit” health care system.  Health care is a business.  Of course insuring the elderly and the pre-conditioned is not profitable.  It is a guaranteed loss.  Just like if we allowed homeowners to jump on the phone with an insurance company while their home is being consumed by fire.  We recognize that someone who calls to get car insurance at the scene of an accident to get a policy is making an unreasonable request.

Health insurance is a different matter.  This business owes it to us to do business even if they have to operate at a loss.  When a business or industry becomes big and profitable, it’s labeled “Big Business” and becomes evil.  “Big Oil”, “Big Tobacco”, “Big Pharma”, and now “Big Health”.  Once a company gets “Big” we expect them to act as a charity and the public feels empowered to determine how much profit is too much.

Businesses are in business to be financially successful.  The object of running a business is to make money.  That’s why I go to work, that’s why liberals go to work.

That’s the rub.  It’s an incredible double standard.  Liberals believe they are entitled to decide how much money is too much for “Big Business”.  And that’s OK, so long as it is not an employer attempting to decide how much is too much for its employees.  Just look at the liberal union reaction when governments wanted financial concessions from “Big Union”!  Governor Scott Walker was called a Nazi for attempting to rein in “Big Union’s” taxpayer-funded comfortable ride.  According to liberals, “Big Union” never makes too much profit and it’s a cardinal sin to suggest they do.  Class warfare politics at its best, or should I say, worst.


  1. For some reason people don’t understand that insuring pre-existing conditions is bad business. You nailed that. Insurance is exactly what it sounds like. You are paying now to be insured against the possible future fire, flood, car accident, or health concern.

    Forcing insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions is equivalent to forcing a company to give to charity. The issue is force. The ends do not justify the means.

  2. I’m not convinced insuring pre-existing conditions is a guaranteed loser, but you have to give companies enough freedom to innovate if it is to be profitable. Competition will drive them to innovate. They are fat and happy now with captive state markets. Make that field cutthroat and they’ll get clever quickly and figure out how to grow into higher risk groups.

    We have created a healthcare system where price cues don’t exist and it raises the cost for everyone. Smokers and drinkers should be charged more (I say this as a beer drinker). BMI should be fair game as a driver of insurance premiums. I cross subsidize diabetics, smokers, tanners, drug users, and mcdonalds addicts with my premiums. They raise my cost. It pisses me off. Also, it shows why Mrs. Obama has no chance at all of making an impact on childhood obesity, since people don’t seem to care if they are fat unless it hits them in the pocketbook.

  3. Living in a country where people’s lives are not assets and liabilities, I have to admit that “Obamacare” (as conservatives call it, and everyone else calls healthcare) seems to be a gigantic clusterfuck. Either you have a private delivery system or a public one. You can guess which one I support (that ain’t rocket science) but I just don’t bloody well understand how you can maintain private insurance and delivery yet have public sector fingers in every crevice of it.
    I know that your point is less “socialism” and not more….but I think that going half-ass into universal heathcare is a huge mistake- just like you do.

  4. This all goes back to positive and negative rights. The Constitution is about negative rights — i.e., the right to be left alone / not murdered / etc. But you only get positive rights, such as the right to health care, by trumping someone’s negative rights — either taking their money or forcing them to provide care for you. Positive rights always consume negative rights, but people don’t think about it carefully.

  5. I agree that business are in business for profit – it doesn’t matter what the service or product is.

    That said, the ability for anyone to pursue life, liberty and happiness is meaningless and impossible without health.

    Being in Canada, I grew up with universal health care and am too young to remember pre-1960’s when that wasn’t the case.

    The idea of a social safety net, where risk is assumed in portion across an industry to be good corporate citizens that the companies should accept a share of bad or high risk cases – because the social cost of not ensuring universal coverage is too high a price to pay

    and corporations, which benefit from operating within a given society/government context need to be corporate citizens, as well as for profit, a portion of which can underwrite their quasi-charitable share of the social burden.

  6. No, I said that pursuit of life,liberty and happiness is meaningless without health.

    Corporations are legal entities that enjoy the benefits of the society they operate in – this being the case, then they have a moral obligation to be a good corporate citizen.

    In fact, many consumers prefer to support corporations that are good corporate citizens – especially in the wake of Eron and other corporations that have demonstrated bad faith corporate stewardship and participation.

    So it is good business sense to be a good corporate citizen – this doesn’t mean getting all the benefits and none of the risk – it means sharing the risk across the industry – taking a small hit to get to keep being part of the team.

    Basically, if the private sector wants the sector to remain private and not become a government, then the private sector has to provide service and access across the board – otherwise, the government has a fiduciary duty of care to the citizens to step in and regulate or nationalize the industry.

    you cannot claim to have a society where everyone is equal, when access to health care is limited to those who can pay for private sector shareholders – and health care is the traditional leading cause of personal bankruptcy.

    People should not be in a position to chose between having medical treatment and having a home.

  7. I agree that it is good business sense to be a good corporate citizens. Many corporations agree too as they put a lot of effort into community betterment. It is good advertising and businesses realize the mutual benefits.

    I do not agree with your belief that the government has the obligation to nationalize an industry if they are not a “good enough” corporate citizen. Just like the government cannot imprison you for not performing volunteer work.

    I do not claim that our society is full of equals. All people are different and thus cannot be equal whether it be IQ, height, property, or personality. The idea is that everyone is treated equally under the law.

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