U.S. Markets closed

Behind the Health-Care Industry’s War Against Medicare for All

Yuval Rosenberg

Politico’s Adam Cancryn offers a deep, detailed and fascinating dive into how health industry lobbies have joined together to fight Medicare for All — and any other Democratic proposal calling for expanding the government’s role in health care. It started with Chip Kahn, the CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals and one of the brains behind the “Harry and Louise” ad campaign that helped derail Bill Clinton's health care reform in 1993, after Bernie Sanders’ held a 2017 news conference to introduce his single-payer plan:

With the images of that Sanders event replaying in his head, Kahn made a phone call — and then, over the next few weeks, another and another. Those calls would lead to a series of secretive meetings in downtown D.C. where officials from every part of the health care industry — from insurance companies to hospital giants, drugmakers and even, for a time, doctors — would forge an alliance united to ensure that Sanders’ promises never became reality.

Out of their pact grew an influence operation known today as the Partnership for America's Health Care Future, a multimillion-dollar cooperative designed to overwhelm not just the swelling Medicare for All movement, but every single Democratic proposal that would significantly expand the government's role in health care.

Its core conviction: Right now, things aren't actually that bad. Nine in 10 people have health coverage, insurance premiums are stabilizing and the system is working better than ever for the vast majority of the country. What Americans need now is a Washington willing to tinker and to shore up Obamacare's weak points, not take a sledgehammer to the entire structure.

"The reason for the invention of the Partnership was that the Democratic Party was forgetting what it had done and, in our view, going off on a tangent that would shake everything up if they ever really got power," Kahn said. "In this country, incremental change, and pragmatic change, has always been the style."

Read “The Army Built to Fight ‘Medicare for All’” at Politico.

Like what you're reading? Sign up for our free newsletter.