Dean Baker asks a good question in “What Do We Do When the Coronavirus Bankrupts the Health Insurance Industry?” (boldface mine):
I suppose it’s not an absolute certainty, but with Donald Trump in charge of stopping the spread of the disease, the bankruptcy of the health insurance industry would seem to be pretty much a foregone conclusion. After all, if large numbers of people contract the disease, which is hard to imagine will not be the case, the industry will face a huge bill paying for their care.
Anyhow, folks should be giving some thought to what sort of conditions we would impose on a bailout. I’ll start the bidding with a hard cap of $1 million on total compensation for the CEO or any other employee of the company. And this should be written so it’s 100 percent airtight. That cap includes all options, bonuses, deferred pay, health care benefits and anything else that can be deemed as compensation.
And I would also take away any “we didn’t understand” defenses for corporate boards. Give the bastards a mandatory five year jail sentence if they sign a contract that breaks the cap. That should help them to think clearly.
It’s not a bad start, but why not nationalize the remains and turn them into non-profits–actual non-profits that serve their users, not ‘non-profits?’ Anyway, Baker is right: if health insurance companies do need a bailout, then let’s get something good out of it.