The potential merger of CVS Pharmacies and Aetna Insurance illustrates a fundamental issue of the ongoing health care debate:
Large corporations such as these are not in health care to improve the health of their customers; they are in it to make a profit for their shareholders.
Health care is about both protection from illness and security in knowing we will be treated when illness occurs. Our society has decided that in other issues of protection and security, such as fire and police service, it makes much more sense to have this done publicly.
The fundamental questions in our healthcare debate are coverage, cost and choice. Who’s going to have the coverage? Only those who can pay, or all Americans?
Are we going to get serious about cost by offering a public health insurance option? Or do we only offer policies through for-profit insurance companies.
Are we going to be able to choose what kind of health care system is best for the majority of Americans? Or do these corporations and their lobbyists succeed in maintaining the lucrative status quo, which leaves millions unprotected and gives us the costliest health care system in the world?