Home > Beltway bulls**t, End of life care, Health care > ‘I would not get a policy,’ says Aetna CEO

‘I would not get a policy,’ says Aetna CEO

At a time when Republicans seem eager to destroy Medicare and push older Americans into the individual insurance market, there is one insurance company CEO who knows first-hand what a terrible idea this is.

“I would not get a policy given my personal medical history,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told Kaiser Health News. “I have one kidney. I have a broken neck from an extreme skiing accident. Given the experience with my son and myself, I’m uniquely prepared to see how to fix this system. I’ve watched it work from the inside.”

Bertolini’s son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer as a teenager, was enrolled in hospice but survived, then received a kidney transplant from his father. Those experiences influenced Bertolini to ease Aetna’s rules about hospice enrollment, and it leaves him repulsed by the “death panels” argument used by Republicans to oppose the Affordable Care Act.

A real big flash point comes up with end-of-life care. Politicians will say ‘death squads: they’re going to put you in front of a committee and decide you’re going to die’. That’s just wrong, it’s not even remotely close. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on, someone takes an issue that is good policy and turns it into a political dogfight that creates a dialogue that’s not helpful.

Bill Sez: It’s remarkable how much a powerful guy’s policy preferences are shaped by his family’s experiences with life-threatening illness and injury. This interview deserves much broader attention than it’s likely to receive.

  1. April 9, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I just want to say as a cancer survivor and diabetic I am happy my Insurance Aetna is headed by this logical, caring C.E.O

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