With billions of dollars at stake, powerful healthcare companies have formed a new group to fight single payer healthcare. The entrenched and highly-profitable healthcare “establishment” is clearly worried that the movement toward single payer would cut into their obscene and unconscionable profit margins that force millions of Americans into financial ruin and bankruptcy.
Led by health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the creation of the new group will give health industries a vehicle to fight a movement led by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. They fear that a Democratic “blue wave” election in November could move single-payer healthcare legislation forward.
The new group has been named “The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future” which is an interesting name because the partnership’s goal is to prevent meaningful change, and to keep America mired in the past.
Still, it is a clear signal that the healthcare industry is growing alarmed about increasing support for a single payer healthcare law within the Democratic Party. The proposals in Congress led by Sanders are called “Medicare for All” which sometimes is used as a different name for single payer.
Health insurance and drug companies are cooperating in formation of the group, which according to industry lobbyists may run advertisements against single-payer plans and promote studies to undermine the idea.
Healthcare industry groups see single payer possibly becoming the default position among Democrats, and they reportedly want to to promote alternative approaches to dealing with America’s healthcare crisis, which involves both coverage and affordability.
“Their worry is about 2020 and it’s becoming the litmus test for Democrats,” said one health insurance industry source familiar with the new partnership.
When Democrats controlled the White House and Congress during Obama’s presidency, they did not propose a single payer system because of heavy industry lobbying against it. They ended up passing the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, which has had a troubled history but has given health insurance coverage to tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans.
Support for a single-payer system has been increasing in recent years. Some prominent senators, in addition to Bernie Sanders, are now supporting the “Medicare for All” bill, including Sens. Kamala Harris(Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).
The “Medicare for All” legislation may be at the center of the 2020 presidential campaign as more Americans want changes made in the for-profit U.S. health system.
One insurance lobbyist said that insurance companies “have felt that they really need to push back on the single payer stuff.”
“Most Americans support commonsense, pragmatic solutions that don’t interrupt the coverage they rely upon for themselves and their families,” said Erik Smith, spokesman for the Partnership. “We agree — and that’s what we’ll be supporting.”
He added that the group’s work “may include advertising or the release of studies in the future, but in these early months since our launch, we’re focused on continuing to grow our coalition.”
Once again the proponents of a healthcare system that actually is affordable and covers all Americans are facing multi-trillion dollar opponents who love the status quo even though people are dying from lack of healthcare. Given the history of “big money” special interests winning battles like this in Washington, there is a strong likelihood that their new lobbying group will be successful once again.
The existence of this new group is all the more reason for “The Resistance” to keep fighting to provide affordable “healthcare for all” in this country. And this means that we need new leaders elected in November who will do what’s right and not sell out to special interests in the healthcare industry.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.