By Thomas Neuburger
This is why the rich always win. Via former top insurance company executive Wendell Potter, the current "must-pass" Covid relief bill contains the following provisions that pass big money to health insurance companies (emphasis added):
"As a former health insurance exec who quit the business, let me tell you: No one will be more excited about the new COVID package than my old friends in the corporate insurance industry. It would funnel $48 billion of [government] $ to them, after their most profitable year to date.
"The COVID bill would temporarily pay for ACA marketplace plans & COBRA subsidies for people who lost their jobs and insurance. That would check off a major item on insurers’ wishlist because it guarantees payment to our wasteful system that’s burdened by 30% administrative costs.
"A more economical approach? Open our existing Medicare program (with a 2% admin. cost) for the Americans hardest-hit by COVID-19. This would allow folks to access the care many desperately need without Uncle Sam ... footing a bloated bill.
"For years, insurers & 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/yr and now a fresh $48 Billion windfall courtesy of taxpayers [Potter means 'the government,' since taxpayers don't fund the government], there isn’t more skin for folks to give."
The rich will always win because "must-pass" bills like Covid relief are only must-pass for progressives who care about actual people. There's no $15 minimum wage (even if delayed until 2025) in the bill, despite progressives pushing for it and humans actually needing it, because eight pro-corporate Democrats are opposed, and the Party always backs down to pro-corporate Democrats, especially when those Democrats channel the wants of the rest of their donor base.
On the other hand, progressives will always back down when the wealthy and their bought politicians put a gun to the head of the public and say to progressives, "It's your fault if I pull the trigger."
There are ways out of this deadly bind, but they involve raising a fuss, the unseemly kind, and at least on the left, not many are ready for that.
Yet till they are — until the blackmail works the other way round, and in our favor — the rich will always win.