Choosing between two evils to save health care
A battle is brewing, and I’m not talking about last weekend’s Connor McGregor UFC fight. This fight is barely in the first round and it’s much more consequential. It’s the battle for your health.
Actually, that’s not really accurate. It’s more the battle for the profit dollars that your health, or lack thereof, represent.
Let’s meet our opponents, in this corner you have the new mega-merger corporations. CVS Health just merged with insurance giant Aetna on Thursday for $69 billion. You heard that right, your neighborhood drugstore just bought your insurance company. More on this later.
In the other corner, we have our local pal, Amazon. They have teamed up with JP Morgan-Chase, and good ole’ Warren Buffett from Berkshire Hathaway to try and disrupt the status quo. Seems like they have adopted the strategy, “If you can beat ’em, disrupt ’em.”
Obamacare attempted to be a third player in this battle royale, but it’s now winded and holding the hems of its shorts in the corner.
So who should we root for in the fight?
Well, I’m having a difficult time envisioning a scenario where CVS Health/Aetna doesn’t try and squeeze every dollar they can out of the system. They are a for-profit corporation and that’s their job. They aren’t really in the health care business, as much as they are in the drug profit business. I firmly believe that mergers like this just consolidate power into fewer hands. Those hand will be vigorously massaging elected officials at every level to keep the money flowing. High premiums, high drug costs, and lots of Medicare and Medicaid monies coming their way.
I’m slightly less suspicious of the Bezos-Buffett team, but only slightly less. Why? Well, this is their side gig. They also want to make money, and health care costs for all their employees and companies eat into their respective bottom lines. They are not riding in on a white horse by any means, but servicing their greed is better for the common man, in my opinion.
So I’m stuck between rooting for the mega-corporation to get richer and more powerful, or rooting for two of the wealthiest men on the planet to get richer and more powerful.
If I need to choose the best, worst option, I’m pulling for a disruption. We’ve seen what big Pharma and Insurance can do, let’s give the other guys a shot.
It’s going to get bloody … in more ways than one.
“What Are We Talking About Here” can be heard every weekday at 4:50 p.m. and 6:50 p.m. on the Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.