Health and financial security Medicare What's Buzzing

Commercial health insurer campaign contributions buy Dem support

Written by Diane Archer

Wendell Potter reports for Tarbell on Democrats in Congress who are pushing health care industry talking points. Potter can spot them easily, as he is a former health insurance industry executive who once wrote and promoted their talking points.

Potter points out that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) was on Meet the Press defending commercial health insurers. Bennet objects to Medicare for All, which would improve and expand Medicare. His arguments against it are specious.

Bennet fails to acknowledge that people with Medicare are significantly more satisfied with their health insurance coverage than people with commercial insurance. And, one in four people with commercial insurance cannot afford needed care.

Bennet also buys into the myth that working people like their employer coverage and would not want to give it up for anything. He fails to acknowledge that most working people are constantly forced to give up their insurance and switch from one in-network doctor to another. Moreover, according to a recent report from The Commonwealth Fund, nearly one in three people with employer coverage are underinsured; they do not have adequate coverage.

Without citing any evidence, Bennet argues that people “love” Medicare Advantage. My bet is that a legitimate survey of people in Medicare Advantage plans would show that : 1. They dislike their restricted access to doctors and hospitals; 2. They dislike the high deductibles and copays; and, 3. If traditional Medicare did not require the purchase of supplemental insurance or they were not required to join a Medicare Advantage plan by their employer or union, they would be in traditional Medicare.

No surprise. Potter reports that Bennet receives considerable campaign contributions from the health insurance industry and other health care special interests, including pharmaceutical companies. Only a small percentage of Bennet’s campaign contributions come from individuals.

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