Earlier this week, shares of healthcare companies began to plummet after UnitedHealth Group CEO David Lichmann said Medicare for All is bad. I do not understand exactly why this happened. The stock market is a strange and mysterious creature to me.
Further confusion is provoked by this article out Thursday evening from Politico Pro (paywalled), which reports that Wall Street analysts are reassuring worried investors that Medicare for All is unlikely to happen:
“[W]e believe that the fear M4A happening is completely overblown,” Capital Alpha Partners wrote in a note to investors on Thursday. “We give 10 percent or less odds that M4A could be enacted, even in the event of a Democratic sweep.”
Analysts at Raymond James went further, telling clients on Thursday that the odds are less than 1 percent that a Medicare-for-all supporting Democrat will win the White House and gain enough support in the Senate to make Medicare for All a reality.
Whatever bitch! I don’t care what you think. You’re a stocks man, not a politics man. The only person whose insights on the stock market are important to me is Hamilton Nolan. (They might be right, but maybe it’s more like two or three percent?)
What you should pay attention to, though, is this:
“Investors should be aware that virtually the entire health sector is united in its effort to keep M4A from picking up momentum,” Capital Alpha Partners wrote.
This is correct. The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a lobbying group formed by all the biggest players in the healthcare industry, is already spending heavily on trying to prevent Medicare for All, two years before it’s even possible it might pass. (They might not be very good at what they do, but they are extremely rich). Pharma, health insurers, hospitals, and the American Medical Association (which represents less than 25 percent of practicing doctors yet wields enormous clout) will fight to the death to be able to profit off healthcare, at the expense of human lives and dignity.
According to Politico, United has “lost about $25 billion in market value since Sanders’ plan was announced.” As my colleague Sophie Weiner pointed out, this is what is really behind any pretense of public interest from single-payer opponents like PACHF. It is absolutely true that rich investors would lose billions of dollars if health insurance companies were relegated to covering only expensive elective procedures; this is not something that the average person should care about. Rich people own most of the stocks. Fuck ‘em.
There are a lot of good arguments for Medicare for All—like that no one should suffer or even die because they can’t afford healthcare, for example—and the fact that Wall Street is so deathly afraid of it is yet another. The fact that they are starting to get nervous is good news.