Blame Rising Health Costs on Greedy CEOs, Not Obamacare

Republicans have devoted much of†their recent focus to†repealing the†Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. And one of the reasons often cited for this agenda is the rising cost of health insurance for many Americans.

But this claim†is a gross oversimplification,†at best. Reality ultimately conflicts with the GOP’s justifications for rolling back Medicaid expansions and dissolving the insurance mandate.

An extensive new analytical report†examines the surge in personal†CEO earnings at the top 70 U.S. health care companies after the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Since 2010 these CEOs have†taken home 11 percent more†earnings than they did†before the ACA Ė- a substantially larger growth than the earnings for Americans in other sectors.

In the wake of Obamaís health care reform, health care company stocks have soared. This trend only slowed in 2015 due to uncertainty about the presidential race. As stocks have risen, CEOs have watched†their bank accounts fill up, as†to the primary source of their personal income comes†from vested stock.

The Republican claim that the ACA has harmed the health insurance industry, lowered the quality of care and caused an increase in costs is simply inaccurate. These trends exist because health industry CEOs have focused almost entirely on inflating stock prices and promoting stock sales -Ė rather than on the services or goods that they provide.

In other words, greedy health care CEOs have made use of the Affordable Care Act as their personal trough from which to pad their wallets even further.

At this point, it might sound as though repealing the†Affordable Care Act would not be an altogether bad outcome. But that is hardly the solution to this issue. Instead, the ACA must be recognized for what it was: a naively crafted bill that took only partial†measures when it needed to go the whole nine yards.

By this, I mean that the solution Republicans and centrist Democrats refuse to consider†is a rather straightforward one: a†single-payer health care system –not an expansion of Medicaid.

Medicaid was not designed to do what the ACA has stretched it into doing. And without a true government insurance option, there will be no incentive for the health care industry to see its customers as anything but people to be shaken down for every penny possible.

If they have to play ball with a system that is genuinely designed to be patient-oriented from the ground up, then greed will no longer being their primary motivator. The only companies that will face collapse are the ones who do not get with the program, leaving the industry populated by those who actually provide services of value.

If Democrats have any hope of regaining ground as a legitimate political party, then they must promote a bold plan to secure health care access for all Americans. The Republicans are not playing softball — why should the Democrats?

Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull/Flickr

73 comments

Margie F
Margie FOURIEabout a year ago

Okay

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Tanya W
Tanya Wabout a year ago

Thank you

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Tanya W
Tanya Wabout a year ago

Noted

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Joan E
Joan Eabout a year ago

Trump himself causes the insecurity that makes the insurance companies involved in the Obamacare healthcare market pull out of the competition. They don't know what to expect next from the erratic Trump. They can't do the planning they would need to do. But we really don't need the insurance companies making profit off our illnesses and accidents. We need single payer, focusing on our care, not their profits.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica Danieabout a year ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica Danieabout a year ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica Danieabout a year ago

Thank you so very much.

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Jetana A
Jetana Aabout a year ago

Private health insurance is a rip off. We need Medicare for All!

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Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a year ago

"By pretty much any metric, the US has destroyed the competition when it comes to total impact in medical research and innovation. That changes with Government VA style healthcare." The major problem with the US pricing is that unregulated monopolistic market control allows every market element of the system to force others to absorb higher prices. In other words, there is too much competition, not too little, and too little regulation, not too much. The major problem with the VA is that Congress, under control of the GOP, has been trying to force underspending. Satisfaction with the VA is very high for the actual services. If the US were willing to fund the VA fully, it would easily be the most popular system in the US.

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Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a year ago

''Will, What countries have lead the world in medical research and innovation in the past 20 years? It's the US. This isn't even up for debate." The richest in the world who can afford to pay anything may come to some of the expensive boutique clinics in the US. On the other hand, the US has the highest spending per person in the world with very mediocre outcomes. The US spends the most but the average person lives like they live in a poor European nation in terms of health care and life expectancy.

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