As a former health insurance exec who quit the business, let me tell you: No one will be more excited about the new COVID-19 package than my old friends in the corporate insurance industry. 

It would funnel $48 billion of taxpayer money to them, after their most profitable year to date.

The COVID-19 bill would temporarily pay for Affordable Care Act marketplace plans and COBRA subsidies for people who lost their jobs and insurance. That would check off a major item on insurers’ wish list because it guarantees payment to our wasteful system that’s burdened by 30 percent administrative costs.

A more economical approach? 

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Open our existing Medicare program (with a 2 percent administrative cost) for the Americans hardest-hit by COVID-19. This would allow folks to access the care many desperately need without Uncle Sam (you) footing a bloated bill.

For years, insurers and pundits have called for Americans to “put more skin in the game” when it comes to health care spending. With health care costs already at $3.8 trillion each year and now a fresh $48 billion windfall courtesy of taxpayers, there isn’t more skin for folks to give.


Wendell Potter
Chairman of the Board at To Be Fair, Inc. | + posts

To Be Fair, Inc. and Tarbell.org founder Wendell Potter is an American consumer advocate, New York Times bestselling author, consultant, and former health insurance industry executive. A critic of HMOs and of the tactics used by insurers, Potter is also an advocate for major reforms of the industry, including universal health care.