Private Insurance Companies Are Destroying Affordable Health Care

August 25, 2016
Editorial

Recent news of Aetna’s departure from the Affordable Care Act marketplace sent shockwaves throughout our country.  Nowhere was the impact felt more strongly than my home state of Arizona, where nearly 10,000 people in Pinal county may be left without a single marketplace plan. News that Aetna had threatened in advance to leave the exchange system if they didn’t get their way in a merger deal is infuriating for Arizonans who are now completely vulnerable as a result of their ploy. It highlights the systemic problems of relying on only for-profit insurers to supply our nation’s health care, and re-opens the debate surrounding a public option for health care.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was continually debated and exhaustively scrutinized before President Obama finally put his pen to the landmark legislation in 2010. The process was thorough, but it was far from complete. Many people involved in the negotiations – myself a main proponent – argued for the inclusion of a public option within the system. Six years later, the public option remains as necessary to a functional system as it is absent from the actual law. We must fix this. 

The full op-ed is available here.