Insurance Industry Ramps Up Propaganda Against Medicare for All Amid Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the United States, laying bare the myriad dysfunctions and inefficiencies of America’s for-profit healthcare system, a powerful insurance industry front group is openly ramping up its campaign against systemic healthcare reforms that experts say would help mitigate the outbreak and guarantee essential care for all.

Forbes Tate Partners, the lobbying firm behind the anti-Medicare for All group Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), tweeted late Monday that while its employees have been working from home since last Friday, “our work on behalf of our strategic partners and clients continues full steam ahead.”

To that end, PAHCF last week launched a Facebook ad blitz against Connecticut’s state public option plan and began laying the groundwork for propaganda efforts in other major states, including New York and California. PAHCF was formed in 2018 by major healthcare industry interests with the goal of squashing growing public support for single-payer.

“While this is disturbing, it should not be surprising,” tweeted Medicare for All NOW!, an advocacy group that is tracking PAHCF’s activities. “The healthcare industry will fight any threat to its profits with force and gobs of cash, even in the midst of a global pandemic. They cannot be bargained with. And they must be defeated.”

Former insurance industry executive Wendell Potter, the director Medicare for NOW!, tweeted Monday that “in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, the healthcare industry is quietly spending millions (they got from YOUR premiums and bills) to fight pro-consumer reforms all over the country.”

Ahead of the Democratic presidential primary debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden Sunday night — held without an in-person audience due to the coronavirus outbreak — PAHCF published a lengthy memo condemning single-payer and other more incremental proposals like the public option as “one-size-fits-all” plans that would hike taxes on the middle class.

The memo, authored by former Obama administration official Lauren Crawford Shaver, does not mention recent studies showing single-payer would slash U.S. healthcare spending by hundreds of billions of dollars and save tens of thousands of lives each year.

The PAHCF memo also does not once mention the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, which has infected at least 4,400 people in the United States and killed 86. As Common Dreams reported last week, the insurance industry has pushed back against calls to waive all costs related to coronavirus treatment.

“In the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, the corporate front group for the hospital, pharma, and insurance industries continues to churn out anti-Medicare for All propaganda,” tweeted pro-Sanders group People for Bernie. “Despicable.”