The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Health Care Profits, Gambled Away

May 18, 2020

Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest HMOs in the country, announced a $1.1-billion-dollar loss for the first quarter of 2020.

So is this health care giant, which had declared a profit of $7.4 billion for the year of 2019, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well, no. In fact, Kaiser’s health care operations turned another big profit in the first three months of 2020, to the tune of $1.3 billion. Kaiser ended up in the red because of its huge losses in the financial markets—that is, gambling—during these three months.

Here is a huge company, which calls itself a health-care non-profit, sitting on more than $30 billion in reserves and playing big in the financial markets, while its executives actively solicit donations of protective gear from the public in the face of a pandemic. In the meantime, the same executives keep squeezing huge profits from their workers and patients, pandemic or no pandemic.

These greedy bosses are the people we are entrusting the population’s health and well-being to. And it’s not just Kaiser, of course, it’s the whole industry. Under capitalism, health care becomes just another “business,” for a few big capitalists to profit.

Is it any wonder that this country, despite its vast means, was totally unprepared for a pandemic, which announced its arrival months ahead of time?