Hospital Association Should Leave Corporate Propaganda Group; Haven Healthcare Fails to Disrupt; 38.6 Million Now Unemployed

Public Citizen Has You Covered

Welcome to this week’s edition of “We’ve Got You Covered,” a weekly tipsheet designed to highlight key news about Medicare for All and call out the biggest health care industry lies and falsehoods about universal health care. Please send tips, feedback and questions to Mike Stankiewicz at mstankiewicz@citizen.org or (202) 588-7779.

AHA URGED TO LEAVE ANTI-CARE PROPAGANDA GROUP 

The American Hospital Association (AHA) should immediately leave the corporate health care lobby group, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, and instead focus hospitals’ funding on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s what Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), which represents 23,000 U.S. physicians, demanded last week following news that some for-profit hospitals received bailout funds from coronavirus-related legislation. The Partnership also has a history of disseminating misinformation about commonsense health care policies, including Medicare for All.

Public Citizen joins PNHP in condemning the Partnership and urging the AHA to exit the coalition.

“Hospitals have the mission of serving their patients, not of lining the pockets of corporate CEOs,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign. “That’s why it is surprising that the AHA would spend critical resources opposing policies like Medicare for All, which would be a lifeline to hospitals in underserved areas.”

CORPORATIONS’ ‘SAVING GRACE’ HEALTH CARE SOLUTION HAS FAILED 

Unsurprisingly, the health care experiment promised in 2018 by corporate giants Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase appears to be a bust.

Bloomberg’s Cynthia Koons laid out how the venture – Haven Healthcare – failed to disrupt the health care system and bring down costs as the industry had hoped. Haven Healthcare also has found itself in disarray with the departure of its two top executives, so its future looks uncertain.

Instead of taking on private insurers as initially suggested, Haven worked with those same private insurers, with few discernible results in lowering health care costs.

Only by removing the profit-motive from health care and the vast administrative burden of our fragmented multi-payer system through Medicare for All can we truly provide quality health care to all while reducing costs.

ALMOST 39 MILLION UNEMPLOYED 

Yet another 2.4 million filed for unemployment the week of May 11, resulting in more Americans losing their employer-based health insurance at the worst time imaginable. That brings to 38.6 million the total number of people who have lost work since the pandemic started.

“In the past nine weeks, almost 39 million people have lost their jobs,” said St. Louis. “This pandemic has shown the dangers of tying health insurance to employment.”

A previous analysis found that 27 million people had lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, but that it would swell to 43 million before the pandemic is over. Medicare for All would cover every American, regardless of their employment status.

REMINDER:

Health care corporations are flooding to Congress and trying to profit off the coronavirus pandemic that already has killed about 348,000 people worldwide.

Cigna and UnitedHealth Group Inc. have reported strong first-quarter earnings in the past weeks, and Cigna said it did not see the pandemic “having a material financial impact” on the corporation. Centene also said it expects the rise in unemployment to boost Medicaid and Obamacare enrollment in the coming months and increase its revenue by $4 billion.

However, America’s Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance lobbying group of which Cigna and Centene are members, is begging Congress for relief. In a letter to congressional leadership, AHIP said insurers “are bracing for an extraordinary increase in costs related to treating patients with COVID-19 infections” and asked for government subsidies and funding for relief programs.

To speak with a Medicare for All policy expert, or if you have questions about Public Citizen’s work, please contact Mike Stankiewicz, mstankiewicz@citizen.org, (202) 588-7779.