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Letters to the editor – Friday (3-5-11)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield doing well for a non-profit
Regarding the article ěBlue Cross reverses 2 years of profit declinesî:
Congratulations to Brad Wilson (CEO) and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina. They continued to make a profit through the worst economic times in decades and have netted $670 million profit in the last four years ó not bad for a not-for-profit corporation. So where does all that profit go? Seems like they could lower their rates.
Crunching the numbers from the Postís article a little, one gets an estimate of $5.4 billion gross revenues for BC/BS in 2010 (the $168 million 2010 profit was ěa little more than 3 percentî profit margin; call it 3.1 percent). Four billion was paid out in claims, and $168 million was profit, so apparently it took about $1.2 billion to run the company. Thatís 22 percent overhead; is that typical for the health insurance industry?
The average annual revenue per insured person is calculated by dividing $5.4 billion by 3.7 million people, and that comes to about $1,450 per head. My annual premium is three times that per person insured, and all are healthy. Would anyone care to explain?
ó Richard Brisbin
Salisbury
Day of reckoning is near
Regarding Louis D. Smithís ěMy Turnî article on the Medicare and Social Security problems:
If the Post will allow, I would like to respond to your article. This is not written in criticism but rather as an additional observation and comment.
The $2.5 trillion will not easily be found because it was never lost, just spent over the years by our Congress on other things. The money is gone, never to be recaptured because itís too late in the game. In addition to borrowing (not possible) or increasing taxes (equally impossible), there is a third way you forgot to mention. They can just print more money. After all, they are the government, and if the government tells the Feds to print more money, well, theyíll just print more money.
Considering the money already squandered the past two years, adding another $2.5 trillion should just about do us in. We will become irrelevant in world affairs and become instead just another third world debtor. The dollarís destabilization will probably bring down all world currencies and the consequences, well, I must leave to your imagination.
The peopleís opinion about Social Security was really never considered. Congress decided how much, how long and when. The seniors were and are just along for the ride, and the politicians are just there for the votes.
Barney Maddofís Ponzi scheme was peanuts compared to our government, but he went to jail. I donít think weíll get far indicting the Congress; besides, where would you begin? Itís the giant of all giant Ponzi schemes because the Congress is paying our benefits with our childrenís earnings and labor, but their benefits are coming due ó who will pay theirs?
ó Richard Roberts
Kannapolis

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