Aetna CEO: America Should Be Debating Single-Payer System

In a private meeting with employees, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said Thursday that a “debate” about a U.S. single-payer health-insurance system is one worth having. “Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation. But let me remind everybody that Aetna was the first financial intermediary for Medicare,” Bertolini said, before adding that the Affordable Care Act “didn’t go so well” and suggesting he would be open to a system in which the federal government contracts services to insurers like Aetna. Aetna spokesperson T.J. Crawford told Vox that Bertolini wasn’t advocating for a single-payer system, “but instead encouraging debate while pointing out that public-private partnerships have been the backbone of the more successful government health care programs.”