“Tonight in America as we speak, 87 million Americans uninsured or underinsured but the health-care industry made $100 billion in profits last year.”
–Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
In the first part of his statement, Sanders is quoting from a 2019 report from the Commonwealth Fund. The report said that the number of people who are uninsured – 24 million — had declined since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, but that more people are “underinsured.” That’s the phrase that refers to out-of-pocket costs that exceed 10 percent of income (or 5 percent of income if low-income, as well as deductible that were more than 5 percent of income. The phrase also covers people who may have had a gap in insurance coverage. The report said that 43.8 million people had insurance but were underinsured, while 19.3 million people had a coverage gap.
As for the claim that the “health-care industry” made $100 billion profits, the Sanders campaign provided a list of profits in 2018 for drug companies, which totaled $101 billion. The health insurance industry was not nearly as profitable, according to a March report by AM Best. Profits rose 19 percent to nearly $26 billion through the third quarter of 2018, compared to the same prior-year period. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners pegged the profits at $23.4 billion in 2018.