Tarbell reports that commercial health insurers are supporting Democrats with larger campaign contributions as a way to undermine their support for a government-administered Medicare for all health care system that does away with commercial insurance.
An increasing number of people are supporting Medicare for all, which would do away with for-profit insurance in the US. The latest Kaiser/Washington Post poll shows that a little more than fifty percent of Americans (51 percent) support government-administered Medicare for all. Only 43 percent of Americans are against it. And, many members of Congress are following the public’s lead.
To cover their bases and protect their industry, the five largest for-profit health insurers—Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Cigna and UnitedHealth—are using their political action committees to support members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle. They have given more than $1.6 million to House campaigns alone. One member of Congress, Joseph Crowley, whom the insurers believed would be their ally, lost his primary race to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who supports Medicare for all.
Other House Democrats who are recipients of the health insurers’ financial support are Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Jim Hines of Connecticut, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire, John Larson of Connecticut and Richard Neal of Massachusetts.
The health insurers would likely be very happy with Medicare Advantage for all, doing away with government-administered traditional Medicare. Of course, what they and their allies do not explain and what the public needs to understand is that Medicare Advantage would look very different if it were not competing with traditional Medicare. Costs would skyrocket; today, traditional Medicare holds doctor and hospital costs down for the Medicare Advantage plans. And, Medicare Advantage networks would shrink; today, Medicare Advantage plans need rich networks in order to compete with traditional Medicare. Moreover, Congress would have the ability to cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans and shift more costs to older Americans and people with disabilities with Medicare.
The health insurers are giving considerable support to the New Democrat Coalition, a pro-business, more centrist body of 68 House members than the Congressional Progressive Caucus, with 76 members.
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Here’s more from Just Care:
- Medicare for all important to majority of 2018 voters
- Four things to think about when choosing between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans
- Aetna under investigation for denying care without appropriate review of medical records
- Medicare ratings of Medicare Advantage plans a farce
- Medicare health plan website misleading at best