Aetna the Blackmailer


In case you were looking for yet another reason to create a single payer health system I give you Aetna.

According to Forbes Magazine, Aetna is the third largest health insurance provider in the nation, with a net worth of over $50 billion in 2015. As such, it is also an important influence on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, a relationship that has netted Aetna over 800,000 new customers.

This market position, and the fact that participation in the exchanges is voluntary, has given insurance behemoths a great deal of leverage to blackmail the federal government in pursuit of market dominance. So when Aetna and the fifth largest health insurer, Humana, decided to merge and become the nations largest heath insurance trust worth over $100 billion, the first thing the company did was use its leverage to blackmail the government.  If the administration wants to keep its precious Obamacare then it can direct the Justice Department to turn its back on anti-trust laws and allow Aetna/Humana to reduce competition in the health care market. Easy peasy.

When the federal government didn’t succumb to blackmail, Aetna kneecapped the Affordable Care Act in at least eleven states. Now Aetna claims innocence. It’s not retaliating against the government. According to Bloomberg, “Aetna said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday that its worsening finances — not an attempt to retaliate because of the Justice Department lawsuit — caused it to pull out of the Obamacare markets.” See. It’s all just a terrible coincidence. Aetna has worsening finances, so it simply must pull out of Obamacare.

Worsening finances? You be the judge.

Aetna has made record profits and is on track to do the same in 2016. Obviously, its participation in the exchanges has not hurt the company. 

Obamacare must be the worst example of socialism ever!

The Affordable Care Act, in trying to promote health care as a right, while at the same time preserving it as a commodity, is trembling on a precarious tightrope. A progressive Democratic Congress and a progressive president in the Oval office–neither of which we are going to get–a law mandating participation in the exchanges for the largest companies might just get signed. But even this would be a band-aid solution to the hemorrhaging that is American health care.

Real progress in health care will not happen until we have a strong enough movement toward a single payer system. Then we the people can return the favor and pull out of Aetna.

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