THE HEAD OF Aetna, the health insurance giant, not only slammed the gains being made in the push for universal Medicare, but also mocked its proponents as misguided.
Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, the third-largest health insurance company in the U.S., rejected the Medicare for All proposal released last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and a group of 16 Senate Democrats.
Bertolini, speaking at the Strategic Investor Initiative conference in New York on Tuesday in response to a question from The Intercept, said that the Sanders single-payer bill does ”nothing to fix the underlying cost structure" of the health care system. ”So if we refinance a lousy product, what do we get? A lousy result," Bertolini said.
The Aetna CEO also ridiculed proponents of single payer, suggesting that they are confused. Some supporters, Bertolini warned, are in fact ”talking about socializing all the hospitals and doctors — everybody's going to work for the government." He asked the room of investors and analysts to ”name a country that has single payer."
When several participants named Canada, Bertolini disputed the answer and claimed that Canada has a ”government-run health care system. They're not single payer, they're single everything."
During his response to our question about the Sanders proposal, Berolini noted that he is ”a little infamous for this conversation," referencing a leaked recording of a company-wide discussion in April, in which he appeared to signal openness to a debate over adopting single payer.
Immediately following the leak, Bertolini moved to distance himself from the idea. ”There's nowhere in the Constitution that says we will need to provide people health care," he said shortly after the tape came out. ”I think government-run health care would be a bad idea, because I think then you end up with the central planning problem that has crushed the Soviet and Russian economies."
The private health insurance system has been particularly lucrative for companies like Aetna. During his talk, Bertolini boasted that Aetna's stock price surged from $29.85 per share in November 2010 to $162 per share this week. His performance as CEO has also been handsomely rewarded: In 2016, he received a compensation package worth $41 million.
Canada does not control the hospitals or the doctors which are private, they are just funded by the government directly to treat all patients as opposed to going through a for profit insurance system, just as Sanders(and Conyers) bills map out.
Even if hospitals and doctors were directly contracted as government workers and were controlled by the government like the UK's NHS, that does not mean that the system is anywhere comparable to the Soviet Union.
This guy gets paid 41 million dollars a year. Aetna has merged with quite a few large entities to become a monopoly institution over the years.