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Common Dreams, April 18, 2019

With comprehensive Medicare for All legislation now introduced in both chambers of Congress and bolstered by surging grassroots support, health insurance stocks are "crumbling" as investors grow increasingly fearful that single-payer could eventually become a reality.

"Together, the shares of hospitals and insurers lost $28 billion in market value on Tuesday," Bloombergreported. "The slide in hospital and insurance stocks continued Wednesday, wiping out billions of dollars more in market value from some of the biggest health companies in the U.S."

As Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur put it on Twitter, "Health insurance stocks are in free fall as Democrats introduce 'Medicare for All' legislation in Congress and Bernie Sanders pushes it on Fox News."

University of California, Berkeley professor and economist Robert Reich argued that tumbling insurance stocks are a "[s]ign that Medicare for All is real."

"Current free-fall in health insurance stocks (Anthem, UnitedHealth, Centene, Humana, etc.) marks beginning of end of for-profit health insurance's business model of seeking healthy people and avoiding sick people," Reich tweeted.

National Nurses United, which is organizing and building support for Medicare for All nationwide, echoed Reich, saying the fall of insurance stocks is evidence that grassroots activism is having an impact.

"Insurance industry stocks dropping as the Medicare for All movement heats up—we've got some serious people power on our hands!" the group tweeted Wednesday.

As Common Dreamsreported Tuesday, the insurance stock sell-off intensified after UnitedHealth Group CEO David Wichmann lashed out at Medicare for All during a call with investors, saying single-payer would "destabilize the nation's health system."

Medicare for All proponents begged to differ, arguing that the for-profit system—under which 30 million Americans are uninsured and tens of millions more are underinsured—is the actual source of instability and dysfunction.

"As usual, an insurance company CEO has got it backward—Medicare for All stabilizes healthcare for people... and disrupts the failed business model of the insurance industry," Michael Lighty, founding fellow of the Sanders Institute, told Common Dreams. ...
Read full article at Common Dreams