By Jake Johnson
Commoner Call (9/11/19)
An Axios analysis released Wednesday found that spending on healthcare advertisements has exceeded $65 million in 2019 as dark money organizations, the insurance industry, and Big Pharma ramp up their campaigns against Medicare for All and other proposed reforms.
“More than half of all issue advertising this year has been on healthcare,” according to Axios, “and that spending will only increase as the 2020 campaign gets closer.”
Doctor Patient Unity, a dark money group that purports to represent doctors but doesn’t publicly disclose its members, has been the biggest spender on healthcare ads this year, Axios found. The group has spent $26 million to date in 2019 into an effort to defeat bipartisan legislation aimed at curbing surprise medical bills.
The organization sent mailers to the Michigan district of Republican Rep. Tim Walberg earlier this month warning that billing reform efforts in Congress are “the first step towards Socialists’ Medicare for All dream.”
Axios also reported that One Nation, a GOP dark money group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), was among the top five groups that spent the most on healthcare in 2019. In June, the Republican organization launched a nationwide $4 million television, radio, and digital ad campaign against Medicare for All.
Barb Kalbach, president of the board of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund, wrote in a Guardian op-ed Wednesday that massive ad spending by dark money groups and the insurance industry shows they are “hanging on for dear life to a business model that returns obscene profits for insurance executives at the expense of cancer patients, cardiac patients, and people struggling to pay for their insulin.”
Kalbach pointed to the Iowa ad blitz by the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an insurance industry front group, as an example of the “distortions and scare tactics” corporate interests are deploying to stamp out Medicare for All, which is now supported by a majority of the House Democratic caucus.
“The insurance companies are working hard to shift the blame and stop the movement for Medicare for All,” said Kalbach. “We won’t be so easily fooled. Americans know that we deserve guaranteed, comprehensive healthcare, including hospital visits, dental, vision, mental healthcare, and dignified long-term care. We know that no one should have to beg for help on GoFundMe to pay for life-saving care.”
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(Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
Faced With Soaring Costs Of Private Insurance, Poll Shows 58% Of Small Business Owners Support Medicare For All
By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams (9/11/19)
A survey released this week by the Commonwealth Fund found that, faced with soaring costs under the for-profit status quo, 58 percent of U.S. small business owners support replacing America’s dysfunctional healthcare system with Medicare for All.
Progressives celebrated the finding as evidence that a key argument in favor of Medicare for All—that the plan would reduce costs for small employers as well as millions of workers—is resonating.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), lead sponsor of Medicare for All legislation in the House, highlighted the poll on Twitter [link below].
“Medicare for All is the only solution to our healthcare cost crisis that will offer relief to workers and small businesses alike.”
As the Commonwealth Fund pointed out in an overview of its survey, small businesses lack the advantages of large corporations when it comes to negotiating with the private insurance industry.
“Small-business owners are often left with little recourse and few options when a health insurance carrier hikes costs,” the organization noted.
According to the new poll, 61 percent of small business owners believe the pharmaceutical industry is “very responsible” for soaring healthcare costs, and 60 percent feel the same about the insurance industry.
The Business for Medicare for All coalition said on Twitter that the Commonwealth survey “confirms what we already know: Medicare for All is the only solution to our healthcare cost crisis that will offer relief to workers and small businesses alike.”
Reduce costs for employers to hire
In an op-ed for The Nation in March, investor and entrepreneur Joe Sanberg argued a Medicare for All system would “reduce the cost of hiring workers, and lower costs for employers by taking them out of the business of buying and providing health coverage.”
“It turns out that Medicare for All is the right thing to do for people, and the smart thing to do for our economy,” wrote Sanberg. “The seven in 10 Americans who support Medicare For All understand that. Now, it’s time for our representatives to listen and act.”