People’s Action Members from Across the Country Exposed AHIP’s Profiteering for Corporate Health Insurers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – People’s Actions’ Care Over Cost campaign today hosted a 1000-person rally at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) headquarters to demand it and its members put people’s health over corporate profit. AHIP’s membership includes some of the biggest private health insurers in the country like Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, Humana, Cigna, and Aetna. AHIP takes money from its corporate members that should be spent on people’s care and instead uses it to lobby for policies that result in obscene corporate profits at the expense of policyholders. People’s Action delivered a letter spelling out concerns about AHIP and the industry and outlining specific cases of care denials we demand they reverse.
“My insulin cost more than my mortgage, and I was forced to ration it,” West Virginia Citizen Action Group member Mindy Salango said. “I was scared my daughter would find me dead. I’m fighting with Care Over Cost because these private health insurance corporations are putting their profits over our lives.”
Private health insurance corporations profit by refusing to pay for care via prior authorization or after the treatment is completed. People stay sicker, longer, are forced into medical debt and bankruptcy, or even die because their private insurance won’t pay. Nationally, private health insurers deny claims more than 248 million times annually. While 9% of the population still lacks coverage, increasingly, the major barrier to people receiving care is not lack of health insurance, but the private health insurance corporations themselves.
“I have a condition where If I don’t get care I could bleed to death. My private health insurer tried to stick me with a $172000 bill a few years ago after a short hospital stay. Today I’m here with 1,000 people who have my back, to tell them we won’t let their greed block us from the care we all need,” Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition member Francois de Paul Silatchom said.
“In the richest country in the world, everyone should get the health care they need, when they need it,” People’s Action Health Care for All Campaign Director Aija Nemer-Aanerud said. “But AHIP’s lobbying, and the willingness of politicians to go along with it, ensures policies are passed that make it harder for people to get care.”
AHIP’s lobbying is a barrier to federally regulating the private health insurance industry to require that insurers prioritize care above profit; the firm lobbies against expanding public insurance programs and for so-called Medicare Advantage, a privatized version of Medicare that increases costs while failing to deliver the care people need. In 2022, AHIP spent $76 million, including $13.3 million on lobbying and $3 million in compensation to its top three executives.
After the action, hundreds of People’s Action leaders met with members of Congress about the Care Over Cost federal policy agenda which includes Improved Medicare for All, protecting existing Medicare coverage, reducing wrongful claims denials and prior authorizations, and improving and investing in Medicaid. The action was part of People’s Action’s convention and one of four direct actions focused on issues impacting poor and working people, including housing, health care, climate, and the overdose crisis.
Photos and videos from the action may be found here.
People’s Action builds the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections. We are a national network of 40 state and local grassroots power-building organizations in 29 states–united in the work of building a bigger “we.”