NEW YORK (Reuters)—Aetna Inc, Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini wants a debate about what a single-payer healthcare system in the U.S would look like, but says he does not think the federal government should run it.
“I think government-run healthcare would be a bad idea,” Bertolini says during an investor conference on Frida. The government’s recent attempt at running healthcare under former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law has not gone well, he says.
As President Donald Trump and Republicans try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they are facing off against Democrats, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who not only want to keep it, but move toward a single-payer system.
Some Democrats have suggested expanding the government’s Medicare program for people aged 65 and older and the disabled to include more Americans.
Trump has joined the fray, saying at one point that he wanted “healthcare for all” and most recently praising Australia’s system of universal healthcare.
Bertolini says that Americans should discuss what kind of single-payer system is being debated—one in which the government pays for healthcare for more people, or one modeled after the U.K., where the government owns health services providers and manages all aspects of care.
Aetna will not sell any individual plans in the individual marketplace created by the ACA next year after having booked $450 million in losses on the business in 2016.