(LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life businesses continue to garner resistance after private companies rushed to fund abortive procedures and travel for their employees after the reversal of Roe v. Wade in 2022. Yet access to legalized chemical abortion may get even easier as CVS and Walgreens have already announced their plan to provide abortifacient drugs in states where abortion remains legal. Since Big Pharma also controls health insurance cost, coverage, and care, the need for pro-life businesses and communities to leave behind Big Pharma and traditional insurance is imperative.
For pro-life businesses and families looking to protect their core values, there is an important caveat to receiving pharmacy benefits and traditional health insurance. What is Big Pharma’s secret? The monopoly that the major pharmacies control is more than just pharmaceuticals. CVS, OptumRx, and Express Scripts own or are owned by Aetna, UnitedHealth, and Cigna health insurance, respectively. And not only do the big pharmacies own big health insurance, but they are gobbling up health systems and physicians groups, as well. UnitedHealth Group’s Optum is the largest employer of physicians in America, with over 70,000 physicians employed or aligned in 2,200 locations across the United States. Optum surpasses Kaiser Permanente, HCA Healthcare, and the Veterans Affairs by more than 20,000 physicians.
Big Pharma means big payouts. The three largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) in America are owned by CVS Corp., UnitedHealth, and Cigna. These three PBMs account for 76% of prescriptions in America. Additionally, pharmacy benefit managers are not required to report to insurance companies what they are actually paying for a drug. “The Ohio Auditor’s office uncovered a $225 million spread between what Medicaid paid its PBM in just that one state alone and what the PBM paid Ohio pharmacies. Of that, $208 million (93%) came from payments for generic drugs that should be among the least expensive.”
Bill Schmaltz, principal at Einstein Consulting Group, explained in Fixing American Healthcare, “Currently, pharmacy claims are approximately 25-40% of the total utilization expenses in most plans. Within a few years, pharmacy claims are projected to reach 50% of plan costs, getting closer to surpassing total medical spend within a group.”
Not only does a large spread mean big payouts for Big Pharma but large increases for employers and consumers. Health insurance premiums have risen 47% in the last 10 years, more than double general inflation at 23%. With healthcare benefits often the number two expense for employers, the rising costs can cripple a business.
Additionally, family deductibles for healthcare have risen 68.4% in the last ten years. Of Americans filing bankruptcy, 67% report it was due to medical bills. Of those, 62% report actually having health insurance. Even still, more than 69% of Americans have only several hundred dollars saved in their bank account. Basically, although an employee may have coverage for their family, they may be functionally uninsured if they cannot afford the average family deductible at $3,800.
What’s the reason for such a dramatic price increase in healthcare over the last two decades? Well, there are many. But at the root is the pro-abortion healthcare monopoly that controls the cost of care. UnitedHealth Group’s profits increased 12% to $20.1 billion in 2022. Ironically, the average annual increase in an employer-sponsored health plan was 10% in 2022. And this has been happening year after year. Yet, UnitedHealth claims their success in 2022 was “driven primarily by serving more people and by serving them more comprehensively.”
Since Big Pharma can control the healthcare and pharmacy costs, they can control the healthcare coverage, as well. This means a dangerous lack of freedom in the future of plan coverage, including abortion, birth control, and vaccination, as each state continues to define their regulations post-Roe. The Kaiser Family Foundation has organized each state’s current restrictions of abortion coverage by privately funded health plans, marketplace plans, and government employee plans. It is important to be aware of the potential need to protect life within your company, your family, or your occupation.
Yet, there is a beacon of light among pro-life healthcare providers, businesses, and even health insurance advisors. This revolution has the potential to not only address the healthcare monopoly head-on, but also ensure quality, affordable, and pro-life healthcare. The key to protecting pro-life businesses and America’s economy is a return to free market healthcare.
Lisa Marino is a doctor of physical therapy and founded Victress Health and Wellness, a cash-based health practice, in 2017. Dr. Marino’s team provides direct primary care, functional medicine, physical therapy, and spiritual consultations incorporating Fr. Chad Ripperger’s Liber Christo model. Dr. Marino can be reached at [email protected]