Obamacare “is not an affordable product” for many Americans, declared Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” recently. He declared:
If we’re going to fix health care, we’ve got to get at the delivery of care and the cost of care.The ACA does none of that. The only person who’s really going to drive that is the consumer and the decisions they make.
Bertolini is not just another insurance CEO. Aetna is the third-largest US health insurance company. He has worked extensively on issues related to health care reform, as indicated by his bio on the company website:
Recognized as an accessible, forward-thinking and solutions-oriented leader, Mr. Bertolini is actively engaged in the national dialogue on health care reform, meeting regularly with state and federal policymakers to advocate for measures that increase access, lower costs and improve quality of health care. He is a strong advocate of market-based solutions, the expansion and use of health information technology, and the sustainability of the employer-based system.
Aetna saw its medical spending rise recently, in part because of Obamacare. However, its earnings still climbed.
Bertolini discussed the hard impact of Obamacare on his company:
We have 600,000 … customers as a result of the Affordable Care Act. We do know they are sicker. We know 87 percent are subsidized. We know they are older. So we expect they are going to use more health care. We priced this [Obamacare] business at lower margins in the 3 percent to 5 percent range … but we didn’t plan or expect earnings as a result of those populations.
Bertolini emphasized the importance of choice as he closed out the CNBC interview, recommending that private employers go to private exchanges where employees would have a genuine choice.
Will a figure like Bertolini speaking out against Obamacare like this influence the debate at all? Or is it sealed now that Obamacare has been into law for a while?
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Photo credit: World Economic Forum (Flickr)