FACT CHECK: AP Finds Health Insurer Profits Not So Fat.

Check out this quiz that appeared on Yahoo News this past Sunday.

Quick quiz: What do these enterprises have in common? Farm and construction machinery, Tupperware, the railroads, Hershey sweets, Yum food brands and Yahoo? Answer: They’re all more profitable than the health insurance industry.

The article written by an Associated Press reporter went on to point out that in the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making “immoral” and “obscene” returns while “the bodies pile up.”

The Associated Press notes that ledgers tell a different story. Here are the numbers:

Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better — drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.

The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.

HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That’s a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.

The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.

UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.

By the way, Bloomberg is reporting this morning that insurers’ stocks fell 2.5 percent yesterday. The reason? Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he will ask the U.S. Senate to vote for a government-run health-insurance program that would allow states to opt out.

That should teach those rapacious profiteers a lesson.

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