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Aetna Shows Why We Need a Single Payer


Aetna Shows Why We Need a Single Payer

Robert Reich

The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans.

Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, and Humana, one of the other giants.

All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up.


Coming from an anti-single payer shrill like Reich this is rather comical.


What part of Hillary's admonition to progressives during the primaries ("the US will never have single payer") don't you understand Mr. Reich ?

It makes no difference that "the problem isn't Obamacare per se", when Obamacare provides unprecedented (other than military industrial complex) corporate welfare enabling more insurance monopolies, prevents states from establishing their own single payer system until 2018 and then only with federal approval, LOL. Not to mention Obamacare's prohibiting the negotiation of drug prices, and Obama's TPP and TTIP eliminating the ability of signatory nations to negotiate drug prices.

The insurance and drug companies are using much of their Obamacare windfall to bolster their lobbying to assure that Hillary's admonition becomes a self fullfilling prophesy.


If and when I should need to get help passing a kidney stone, there will be some rube in Connecticut going "ka-ching"!
Ain't that America. That rube has a much better lobbying force than anyone in need of help.


Single payer, another subject that I hope Jill Stein raises in tonight's CNN town hall meeting. Very timely!


Jill Stein is now taking incoming fire from the corporate media.
That's a good thing because it means she's making progress,

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight with you.
Then you win.


Aetna, we're gonna get ya.


Talk about shrill. Really.

Get off your high horse. Name calling only serves the self-righteous, and we've seen where that reductionist dynamic has taken the radical right.


While the AynRandistas extoll the amazing healing powers wielded by the invisible hand of the market, the rest of us hear it snapping on a latex glove and see it reaching for the Vasoline.


You're over the top in your characterization of Reich's position. Follow the link to Physicians for a National Health Program, which posts a Reich column in support of the "public option" for Medicare, and the PNHP response.


Agree that social medicine is strongly superior to just single payer health insurance in a privatized marketplace.

Keep our eyes on the prize, and we are able to recognize when "left" politicians are "pre-compromising" away from the strongly superior position.

Reich still defends the stupendous "pre-compromise" of Obamacare / ACA as a positive step toward single payer...


People do not endorse politicians who have a very specific anti-single payer healthcare agenda if they support single payer health care. To assume they do simply because they make a claim to is incredibly foolish. Their actual actions like political endorsements are far more telling then their cheap words. You can chose to judge by his words if you want to but I'll go by his actions instead if that's okay by you.


YES...YES...We need a single payer...but be careful...I am paying tons of higher money every year to the two side insurance companies BIG time on my Medicare.

No insurance companies should be included in the single payer system. Let the Government be the support system. And get some serious people to manage it and not like Veteran Administration that will kill everything...

It would be very difficult...because we are Christian People who do not believe in the religion.


It is absolutely ridiculous to blame the Democrat Party for the fact we do not have single-payer health insurance.

The Democrat Party is responsible for all the social welfare programs enacted in the 20th and 21st centuries; e.g., Social Security; expanding Social Security to spouses and dependents; disability insurance; unemployment insurance; a minimum wage; Medicare; Medicaid; the ACA; and expanding Medicaid under the ACA (in states controlled by Democrats).

Do you understand why there is no public option in the ACA? Three Senators (Nelson, D, NE; Lieberman, I, CT; and Landrieu, D, LA) all announced they would not vote for cloture if the bill contained a public option. Without a vote for cloture, bills are filibustered to death in the Senate, so even though a majority of Democrats were for a public option, Harry Reid had no choice but to bring a bill to the floor of the Senate without a public option. The Democrat Party is not monolithic and a few Senators can prevent a public option by using the filibuster. This is the tyranny of the minority.

We don't need a new party because we already have the Socialist Workers Party that supports socialized medicine (this is not single-payer; it is government ownership of health care or socialized medicine). The problem is that too many Republicans think socialized medicine is godless communism.


Congress legislates, not the DNC. If you don't like the fact blue collar people and the poor have been thrown under the bus, then blame Congress. Do you realize that in 1980, the 1% controlled 25% of the wealth in the country. Reagan was elected and we got supply-side economics. Congress cut taxes on the wealthy because this was supposed to stimulate the economy that would help blue collar workers and the poor because a rising tide lifts all boats. What we got, however, was a massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1% because the 1% now controls 50% of the wealth in the country. As Warren Buffett said: "It's class warfare and my class is winning."

Republicans in Congress gave us supply-side economics because it is Congress that taxes and spends.


You don't have to purchase supplemental private insurance when you are on Medicare. You do have to purchase private insurance for prescription drug coverage. This is because the Republicans gave us Medicare Part D and Democrats gave us Medicare Parts A and B.


Yes I do...for the 20% that somehow comes to be a lot of money...and the prescription side costs a lot of money in premium and cash out...That is why, we need a better system for all...


So in our country if you don't have money or paper that promises some kind of promise of payment in the future, you will be sick or whatever. We know that's not what happens in this country. What happens is most of us get substandard care. Not at the doctor level. I think we have excellent doctors and urgent care facilities that offer general practice doctors now. My personal physician who I love is so busy I often utilize an urgent med facility when I don't have an appt but need to see a physician. I see the biggest problem in the hospitals. Hospitals are the real black holes of the universe.


This is actually a case where the insurers are the good guys, with some of the providers & consumers as the bad guys. Certain providers are setting up "charities" to fund "award" recipients who currently get Medicaid to free ACA coverage instead, so that they can the higher reimbursements from the ACA plans than from Medicaid. And of course there are folks who don't want to buy insurance because the individual mandate is so weak. And the bottom line is that the public is acting like a bunch of crybabies who want all the good from the ACA but not the bad (i.e., the mandate).

I think the direction to go in is to set up the public option that is not actuarially neutral, but rather that is set to correspond to a "normal" risk pool that an employer group would have, with the deficit of premiums paid for by the general fund; this would be similar to the idea of high-risk pools, except that it would be guaranteed to be sufficient. This public option would be default policy for anyone to join.

So with this public option available, a lot of the regulation connected to the ACA can go away (there should still some regulation to make sure that junk insurance is not sold, etc.) along with individual mandate and the requirement of guaranteed issue, and the Republicans can be left to play their market-based games to their hearts' content. In essence this system creates a hybrid form of single-payer, with folks who don't want to join it allowed to try to beat it with their system. Everyone is happy.