Joe

Former Vice President Joe Biden has largely been silent in the Medicare for All debate, but one of his chief supporters is a leader of perhaps the biggest anti-Medicare for All lobbying group in Washington.

As Grit Post previously reported, Joe Biden’s first official campaign fundraiser is a $2,800 per-plate event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania featuring Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) and multiple members of Congress. An invitation advertising the event obtained by Politico’s Holly Otterbein shows that one of the co-hosts of the event is Daniel Hilferty — CEO of Independence Health Group.

Hilferty also serves on the board of directors for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the top DC lobbyist for the for-profit private health insurance industry. As The Intercept reported in 2018, AHIP was not only one of the key groups that stood in the way of the Affordable Care Act during President Barack Obama’s first term, but has since joined a coalition opposed to Medicare for All in 2020. In February, both AHIP and the Federation for American Hospitals came out against Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Washington) Medicare for All legislation in the House.

AHIP is also seeking to influence the debate over Medicare for All within the Democratic Party. Intercept reporters Lee Fang and Nick Surgey wrote that AHIP hired a consulting firm specifically “to develop an effort to label any government-run insurance option as an existential threat to Democratic political goals,” and the group has been a top donor for centrist Democratic groups like the New Democrats PAC and the Blue Dog PAC. Biden is no stranger to health insurance money, receiving $279,500 from insurance industry donors throughout his Senate career.

As a lobbyist, AHIP has not held back in spending vast sums of money to make sure Congress protects the interests of health insurers. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, AHIP has spent $94.2 million on lobbying Congress between 2008 and 2018.

Joe
AHIP lobbying totals, 1998-2018 (Chart by Center for Responsive Politics)

Healthcare was the biggest issue that drove voters to the polls in 2018, in which Democrats — many of whom ran on Medicare for All — netted a whopping 40 seats in the House of Representatives. It stands to reason healthcare will continue to be a top issue again in 2020. Given the health insurance industry’s support of Joe Biden throughout his career, it isn’t likely the former vice president will be a backer of Medicare for All in his fourth presidential run.

 

Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

Comments

  1. Is Medicare for all the wave of the future? I think it should be. Would MCA be too disruptive? I think not. To avoid disruption, MCA can be installed over time, five or ten years if necessary. It’ estimated that the saving for individuals and employers will be untold Billion, if not a trillion bucks or more. Simply taking profits out of health care tells you that the saving for everybody will be gigantic. So much so that doctor’s nurses and even the maid in a hospital can get a super big raise, as the dollars will be there.
    One suggestion is to install the program in stages. First include people 55 and up, then go to those 35 and up then everyone else.. Those health care worker now employed with insurance Giants can find new jobs in the MCA program.
    There must be a dozen or more ways to achieve MCA for all in our country. Lets join the rest of the worlds in providing health care to all Americans, single payer.. PS New taxes needed to pay for MCA will no doubt be a whole lot less than paying health premiums, and no one need die because they could not afford a doctors visit.
    Need I add that MCA will provide stability to people that want to change jobs without the worry of loosing their health care. Additionally employers saving will allows employer to increase paychecks for their employees Additionally hospitals will save billion in far less paper work., saving that can be passed on the patients. So as one can see the benefits for MCA would be enormous. People would have far more dollars in their pockets, and that would benefit the economy. So get on board and root for Medicare For All.
    Sincerely –Gorge Youngert

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