Sen. Gillibrand: Eliminating Private Insurance the ‘Quickest Way’ to ‘Single Payer’

‘What’s gonna happen is you’re going to have enormous competition, and I don’t think for-profit providers will be able to compete…’

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Kirsten Gillibrand/Photo by personaldemocracy (CC)

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, said on Saturday that the United States should transition toward Medicare for all by eliminating private health insurance.

Jon Lovett, on his show “Lovett or Leave it,” asked Gillibrand, “Should ending private insurance as we know it be a Democratic Party goal, and do you think it’s an urgent goal?”

“Oh yeah, it is a goal, and an urgent goal, but let me explain,” Gillibrand said. “I ran on Medicare for all in 2006, in my upstate New York, 2 to 1 Republican district. And the reason I ran on that message was because I listened first…Overwhelmingly they said, ‘I’m worried about access to healthcare.’”

Gillibrand, who has struggled to portray herself as a far left-wing Democrat, continued to talk about how “competition” and a Medicare opt-in system would drive out private insurance companies.

“Well, clearly what will happen is you’ll create competition in the system because the for-profit insurance companies, their obligation is to their shareholders, not to their patients. Their goal is actually to make money every quarter, pay their CEOs millions of dollars, and they put enormous fat in the system—enormous cost in the system—because their priority is their returns and their profits.”

She then explained how private insurance companies “deny” patients, despite the fact that it’s illegal for hospitals to deny treatment to patients without insurance.

“They deny you an extra day in the hospital or a certain medicine because they will make more money if they do, not because it will make you healthier,” Gillibrand said. “Describing this to the district and the people who live there was something that they fully understood and said, ‘Yeah, we’d love more competition, we’d love a not-for-profit public option.’ So that’s what I ran on.”

She described the buy-in, which will force out private insurers, as “the quickest way you get to single payer.”

“What’s gonna happen is you’re going to have enormous competition, and I don’t think for-profit providers will be able to compete because they have to have that layer of fat, they have to have that shareholder value, they have to have that quarterly profit.”

In other words, private insurance companies won’t be able to compete because they have to turn a profit, while the government can finance Medicare for all with debt and taxes.

Watch Gillibrand’s full interview, with her comments on eliminating private health insurance: