Top Pelosi Aide to Insurance Companies: We’re Not Really Interested in Medicare for All – NTK Network Top Pelosi Aide to Insurance Companies: We’re Not Really Interested in Medicare for All

Top Pelosi Aide to Insurance Companies: We’re Not Really Interested in Medicare for All

Primus's objections to a Medicare for All system included "implementation challenges," the financial burden of such a system, and opposition from both insurance and Americans.

By NTK Staff | 02.05.2019 @1:00pm
Top Pelosi Aide to Insurance Companies:  We’re Not Really Interested in Medicare for All

Wendell Primus, a top health policy aide for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reportedly told Blue Cross Blue Shield executives shortly after the 2018 midterm elections that House Democratic leadership had “strong reservations” about a Medicare for All system, despite numerous Democrats running on the policy during the 2018 midterm elections.

The Intercept published slides on Tuesday they obtained from the meeting between Primus and Blue Cross Blue Shield executives from November of 2018.

During Primus’s presentation, he reportedly “detailed five objections to Medicare for All and said that Democrats would be allies to the insurance industry in the fight against single-payer health care.”

Primus’s objections to a Medicare for All system included “implementation challenges,” the financial cost of a Medicare for All system, and opposition from both insurance and Americans.

According to the Intercept:

Primus concluded his presentation with a bullet point that summarized Pelosi’s mission on health care: “Lower your health care costs and prescription drug prices.”

The “your” refers to insurers, who bear costs for medical expenses covered under their plans. That puts insurers and Pelosi, at least in one sense, in alignment, as both have an interest in lower costs. Indeed, insurers regularly negotiate to lower their health care costs, but in practice their efforts have had little effect on the general trend in costs. Drug company patents give pharmaceutical giants outsized power to set prices, and hospital consolidation has also given providers more power in those negotiations. Even where insurers have been able to negotiate lower prices for their own customers, that has done little to shrink the list price of drugs for the public.

“We don’t discuss private meetings, if there was such a meeting,” a Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesperson told the Intercept.

“Speaker Pelosi has ensured that Medicare for All will have hearings in the House and tapped Congressman Brian Higgins to take the lead on Medicare buy-in legislation. For the first time, House committees will be seriously examining and tackling some of the questions and possible solutions raised by Medicare for All legislation,” a spokesperson for Pelosi told the Intercept.

Pelosi’s spokesperson also said that “the biggest obstacles facing Medicare for All right now are Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.”

This report by the Intercept comes at a time when 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have been declaring their support for a Medicare for All.

It would appear, based on the Intercept’s reporting, that if one of these presidential hopefuls supporting Medicare for All is elected in 2020, Pelosi might not be a willing ally to help implement Medicare for All for in America.

Sign Up

for NTK updates every week.


View Privacy Policy