Secret Trumpcare Confab Revealed with Insurance Execs and Freedom Caucus (Satire)

Aetna’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, who famously told the Wall Street Journal in February that Obamacare was in a death spiral, despite reports to the contrary, organized a secret confab bringing insurance execs together to present and discuss plans for the next version of the AHCA. While Ryan, Vice President Pence, Mark Meadows (Freedom Caucus chair) and Tom MacArthur (Tuesday Group co-chair) negotiated the consensus bill, Bertolini argued insurers should design and announce a series of bold new plans, emphasizing Americans’ freedom to choose, concurrent with the new bill’s release. Bertolini explained pre-existing conditions may endure, but guaranteed CEOs the restrictive Ten Essential Health Benefits would be gone and insurers should hit the ground running.

At the secret confab held at an undisclosed location, Bertolini kicked off presentations introducing Aetna’s new catastrophic plans. With three levels of care—Standard, Enhanced and Premium, the starter plan offered hospitalization only, along with select post-operation expenses geared to young, professional adults confident in their health and ability to cover routine check-ups or office procedures. The Enhanced Plan added substance abuse inpatient coverage, popular among many young adults today. Premium added prescription drugs and maternity for the “ladies.” New Passive and Active Care Plans were also in the works. For sedentary consumers, “Why cover physical therapy, or ACL surgery, when they never play sports? Or lightning strikes if they are never outside?” Bertolini asked. The Active Plan covers 90% of sports-related injuries, but excludes diabetes, heart disease and other ailments associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Bertolini was confident consumers would love these new options.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who encouraged consumer health care spending over new iPhone purchases, was quoted in many CEO PowerPoints: “We’re getting rid of those things that people said that they don't want. And you know what? Americans have choices. And they've got to make a choice.” Speaking at the event, Chaffetz excitedly described the free enterprise spirit in the air, and joked the only unhappy CEO will be Tim Cook of Apple. When he concluded, CEOs in attendance raised flame-app iPhones in applause.

Up next was Chief Innovation Officer, Dolph Dread, of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, who presented a recent clinical study concluding 90% of all hand functionality can still be performed without use of the finger next to the pinkie finger (Extremities 104L and 104R in medical parlance). It turns out most people only use a few fingers to text and type. If consumers decline reconstructive surgery on those fingers resulting from accidents or terrorist attacks, hand surgery costs drop 10% (thumbs are more expensive to insure). The useless finger and other body parts found to be less critical in internal studies were bundled into a new, streamlined Essentials Plan. Dolph noted senior citizens are just happy to be alive, and opt for lower monthly rates every time when polled, happy to live without repairing or replacing (no pun intended) earlobes, select toenails, and some internal organs, if there was no physical pain.

Rand Paul was raving about the new Libertarian Protection Plan being offered by Fidelity. As described by their CEO, “Why should only doctors and hospitals have access to ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseased)?" The Liberation Protection Plan is 100% a la carte, with an elegant UI guiding consumers through thousands of classifications and sub-classifications. Rand Paul said, “I spent hours picking the diseases and injuries I wanted covered, and since I don’t plan on dying this year, I declined the External Causes of Morbidity Section coverage, with enormous savings. And eliminated hernia coverage, since I plan no heavy lifting in the Senate, and saved $11 a year. It was exhilarating.”

At the bar between presentations, drinks were flowing and the banter was upbeat. Back to the “good ole days” was heard more than once. A bartender asked, “don’t they remember how much people hated health insurance coverage before Obamacare?” But insurance CEOs laughed, and were convinced this time it was going to be different, claiming they’ve learned from other industries and will bring the full power of social media, content marketing, and branding to their new product offerings.

Case in point, United Health’s Chief Product Design Officer, Rey Diculus, announced a co-branding initiative with Men’s Health Magazine as part of a new line of Lifestyle Protection Plans. Rey said Men’s Health knows the millennial male and how to reach him. A series of Guy Plans are in the offing. For the active millennial, Guy Plans will offer full coverage for body hair removal, sports-related accidents and binge drinking hospitalization. Zac Efron will be product spokesperson, with Neighbors and Baywatch tie-ins already planned. A sneak peek commercial showed a montage of movie pratfalls cleverly mixed with Guy Plan messaging and lots of buxom nurses. “Why not sell health coverage like beer, for people who like beer?” Rey asked the crowd. And to keep costs low, mental health services and yearly check-ups were removed, since millennial guys skip shrink and doctor appointments anyway.

Rey was most excited about their barebones, low-cost plan called The Package. “Let’s face it, for a lot of our readers the only thing they care about is their package. And in this plan, it is the only thing we cover—100% with no deductibles.” The plan offers full coverage for Viagra, size enhancements, and, of course, all venereal diseases and wart removal. It was noted there'd be no coverage for the “posterior,” which will be included in a new co-branded plan with The Advocate.

A full series of Lifestyle Plans are in the works at United Health, and advanced discussions with the marketing departments at Cosmo, Ammo and Gourmet Magazine are already underway. Gourmet is developing a series of plans for those who take their eating seriously. Plans discussed include A Little Extra, Full Figured and BBW, which will cover gout, diabetes and limb removal at a full 100%.

Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, and the leading proponent of “choice” and the elimination of the Ten Essential Benefits, closed the sessions. He noted those who claim health care doesn’t mesh with free market principals simply don’t understand choice. “The plans presented tonight prove them wrong. Some people would suggest insurers are encouraging people to gamble with their health, but people gamble in Vegas, they gamble on sports, they gamble in love, and they gamble on the stock market every day. They are true Americans, and have the right to gamble on their health care too.” And he vowed to do everything in his powers to protect that right and the insurers right to offer the plans they choose—to thundering applause.

I’ll drink to that.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.