Healthcare

Aetna Lied About Obamacare

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

You can add health insurance giant Aetna to the list of businesses that have lied about Obamacare and, in the process, nudged Donald Trump a little closer to the White House.

A federal judge blocked Aetna's merger with Humana yesterday and, in his ruling, Judge John Bates revealed that Aetna deceived the public in a failed attempt to win approval for their merger.

Aetna publicly claimed that they withdrew from Obamacare health insurance exchanges because they were losing money, but they lied. The real reason the company withdrew from some exchanges is because they wanted to avoid anti-trust scrutiny.

“Aetna was willing to offer to expand its participation in the exchanges if DOJ did not block the merger, or conversely, was willing to threaten to limit its participation in the exchanges if DOJ did,” Judge Bates said Monday. [...]

Monday’s ruling cited internal documents showing Aetna was planning to withdraw from many health insurance exchanges for business reasons. But it said that on the day the Justice Department sued to block the merger, “Aetna employees were instructed to gather information regarding the 17 complaint counties.”

The next day, Aetna’s exchange business head, Fran Soistman, emailed staffers saying, “by the way, all bets are off on Florida and every other state given the DOJ rejected our transaction.”

Both publicly and even internally the company stated that it was withdrawing because they lost over $400 million, but that clearly wasn't the case. Aetna executives did not even take the profitability of providing coverage into account according to DC District Court judge John Bates. Coverage was dropped for legal reasons.

The extent to which this may have impacted the election is debatable but feels clear to me. The overwhelming majority of private citizens who claim to have grievances with Obamacare do not know what it is or what it does. They've been lied to repeatedly by their own representatives and even the insurance industry.

We're dangerously close to seeing tens of millions of people lose their coverage because the GOP and greedy shareholders and executives decided to lie about matters of life and death.

Aetna is considering an appeal of Judge Bates' ruling which would be handled by the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Washington. That's not favorable ground for them.

  • muselet

    Nice little health-insurance system you got here. Be a shame if something was to happen to it.

    There’s a special level of hell awaiting those responsible for Aetna’s protection-racket tactics.

    –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    I don’t think low information voters were paying enough attention to Aetna, at that point in the election. These are likely the same people who are unable to distinguish that The Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing.

    EDITING TO ADD: Aetna should be held to account for this misinformation and attempted blackmail.