Health insurer CEO in shock statement: Let’s look at single-payer insurance

The country appears to be headed toward single-payer eventually, says the top exec. The question is where insurance companies will fit in

Health insurer CEO in shock statement: Let’s look at single-payer insurance

Life & Health

By Ryan Smith

The chairman and CEO of insurance giant Aetna said that there should be a national discussion about moving to a single-payer healthcare system.

Mark Bertolini made the statement to a group of shareholders during a private meeting of Aetna employees, according to a report by GoodHealth. The discussion has since been leaked, and has not been denied by either Bertolini or Aetna.

“Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation,” he said.

The remarks are especially surprising considering Aetna has announced it is pulling out of Obamacare exchanges. But Bertolini said he thought single-payer could work with the government paying for universal healthcare while insurance companies administered it, GoodHealth reported.

“If the government wants to pay all the bills, and employers want to stop offering coverage, and we can be there in a public-private partnership to do the work we do today with Medicare and Medicaid at every state level – we run the Medicaid programs for them – then let’s have that conversation,” Bertolini said.

Bertolini said that the country seems to be headed to some sort of single-payer system.

“We’re going to pay for it one way or another,” he said. “What we have to do is we have to get the costs right. We have to get people healthy. It’s not about who is paying the bill. It’s about what we’re doing to get the costs down.”

A number of Republicans have also recently said the country will probably end up with a single-payer system, GoodHealth reported, and a recent poll found that even 40% of Trump voters would back “Medicare for all.”

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