Turning a Profit on a Pandemic

Despite COVID-19’s economic devastation, the US health insurance industry could emerge unscathed.

Former Cigna VP Wendell Potter—whose conscience drove him to leave the industry after the death of a patient denied a transplant—explains how.

People are opting out of elective procedures—letting insurance off the hook. And the terrible truth: A lot of coronavirus patients are already in ill health and expensive to cover. Many are likely to die, he says.

And even if insurance companies see an uptick in COVID-19 claims, they can just raise rates.

But, says Potter, COVID-19 could also force much-needed change. Other countries that have handled the surge of COVID-19 patients better than the US have single-payer systems, he notes.

The Quote: “We've tried to see healthcare as a business in this country, and a profit-making business, rather than a means to prevent people from getting sick in the first place ... We're seeing, and paying, for the consequences of that foolishness over all these years now.”


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