Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is coming under some fierce attack on Twitter and elsewhere because Michigan Blue Cross and Blue Shield was one of the clients he worked for while at McKinsey.
Here’s how the Washington Post summed up the politics:
"That Buttigieg advised Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will provide more fodder to liberal critics who have already taken to calling him ‘Wall Street Pete’ and suggested that his “Medicare for all who want it” plan preserves the health insurance industry and fails to provide the kind of drastic change to the health-care system promised by Medicare-for-all."
Before Buttigieg officially released the McKinsey client list yesterday, Wendell Potter, a former insurance company executive who is now a critic of the industry, tweeted out a thread on Monday that described how insurers used expensive consultants and cast Buttigieg as an industry ally:
Pete is fighting to preserve the role & profits of health insurance companies, spending huge sums on ads slamming plans to rein them in. I'll be watching to see if my former insurance colleagues send him big campaign checks. He’s probably one of their favorite candidates.
Buttigieg started to fight back last night. During an appearance on the Rachel Maddow show, Buttigieg said his work for the Michigan Blues focused on overhead costs ("utilities, travel, that sort of thing") not claims or patients. He said he learned that insurers are “big and complicated" and that is one reason he believes the public plan he is proposing will "outcompete" private insurers.
Maddow asked him whether his work for the Michigan insurer might have been connected to the organization’s 2019 decision to eliminate about 1,000 jobs and raise rates. Buttigieg said his role ended in 2017 and that he doubted that it did. Then, without naming them, he turned the tables on Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and their Medicare-for-all plans that would drastically reduce the role of insurers:
“What I do know is that there are some voices in the Democratic primary right now who are calling for a policy that would eliminate the job of every single American at every single insurance company in the country.”