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AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion

AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion
© Greg Nash

Several progressive members of the House Democratic Caucus joined a livestreamed conversation on health care reform on Wednesday and attacked what they said was widespread greed and fraud in the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York City's suicide mission should alarm the entire nation Marjorie Taylor Greene rakes in over .2M in first quarter The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan MORE (D-N.Y.), Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan Gosar's siblings ratchet up criticism over Capitol riot MORE (D-Wash.) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) spoke at the event hosted by the left-leaning Center for Health and Democracy, where they and former Cigna executive Wendell Potter, now a "Medicare for All" advocate, discussed the state of the U.S. health care system.

Porter highlighted an example of the skyrocketing prices of a cancer drug despite no significant changes made to its formula or availability. 

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"Health care companies cheat patients without any sort of consequences. That's the stone-cold fact of where our healthcare system is today," Porter said. "These massive corporations are lining their pockets at the expense of Americans' health."

"Year after year, more and more Americans, even Republicans, are increasing in their support for a Medicare for All system and guaranteeing health care as a human right in the United States," Ocasio-Cortez added.

The host and lawmakers also touched on potential resistance from the health insurance industry to a plan floated by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech Kemp: Pulling All-Star game out of Atlanta will hurt business owners of color MORE to add a publicly funded insurance option, a move seen as a compromise with single-payer health care advocates.

Potter told The Hill earlier this week that the conversation's purpose was to help organize grassroots support behind the reforms that progressives hope to accomplish in the health care sector under a Biden administration.

“At a time when millions of Americans are dying or going bankrupt because of a broken, profit-driven scheme that enriches corporations, it’s vital and urgent that we transform our healthcare system,” she said.

“During this pandemic, when a countless number of Americans have lost their jobs and health insurance, insurance companies like the ones I worked for are posting record profits, and they’ll be using that windfall to try to stop any progress next year,” Potter continued. “This conversation, with some of the most forward-thinking leaders on health care in our nation, will begin building the grassroots support we need to beat back these forces.”