Public Takings of Private Health Insurance (revised November 2019)

The Medicare for All Act of 2019 is subjected to the last clause of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.  This revised report was written by Board members Thomas Gottlieb and Eldon Van der Wege.

Public Takings of Private Health Insurance (revised November 2019)

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  • Robert Messman
    commented 2020-03-11 15:17:42 -0600
    As a board member of HCACF, I disagree with the proposition of this article for a number of reasons. First of all, the authors have NO legal opinions by competent lawyers to support the case that the Constitution requires compensation or that replacement of the health care insurance business of private insurers is even a “taking.” We have, in fact, received an excellent legal brief from a law firm refuting the conclusion of this article. The opposing brief points out that insurance policies generally are one year long agreements. So they have no value beyond that year because another insurance company could out-market or out-bid the current insurance provider. So the single-payer, say a Medicare-for-All entity, could merely step in to provide everyone with a policy at the beginning of any year as the existing policies expire.

    The other financial case against this is that it is an incredible waste of possibly $714 billion dollars that could be better spent providing healthcare to the needy instead of lining the pockets of the owners of entities that have overburdened the health care system with their excessive overhead, marketing, lobbying and executive compensation regimes. Other large companies have failed in the past and not created a significant harmful effects on the economy. The economic effects of down-sizing the health care insurance companies, many of whom would become contract processors for the single-payer, would be negligible when offset by the massive stimulation to the economy from the elimination of hundreds of billions of dollars annually wasted on the unnecessary administrative costs created by the healthcare insurance industry in addition to the lowering of medical costs, negotiated by a single-payer.

    I have to laugh when I ask the authors how much of the $714 billion buyout price they would be willing to pay. I get a blank look which means “somebody else” – a bit disingenuous that they are unwilling to share personally any part of the big commitment they want to place on society. They would of course borrow the money and put the burden on future generations—-an unnecessary and selfish plan.
    Robert Messman, HCACF Director