LAS VEGAS — It is not typical to hear multiple F-bombs drop in the first five minutes of a keynote discussion at a health conference.
On the other hand, Mark Cuban is usually not one of the speakers.
Series investor, television personality, and owner Cuban of Dallas Mavericks wants to use his own muscles to bring many of the core elements of the business model to the ground – starting with insurance, he told an audience of hundreds of healthcare entrepreneurs and executives at the HLTH conference Monday evening.
“One of the biggest lies the American people has ever been told is that insurance is a proxy for wellbeing,” Cubans said in a stage interview with Andy Slavitt, one of the greatest defenders of the Affordable Care Act during and after his tenure as Acting Administrator the Obama-era Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Nothing is further from the truth.”
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While the two men differ in their approaches to health care repair, Cuban is among nearly 100 leaders who join Slavitt’s nonprofit United States of Care to help build public consensus on guidelines that ensure access to health care for Americans .
It’s also a topic that has become a passionate topic for Cubans in recent years, he said.
Cuban said he has had a keen interest in health care among politicians on both sides of the aisle and is keen to look into the matter for a number of reasons.
“Right now, healthcare is so politically charged that people aren’t trying to solve problems. They don’t even try to identify problems. They are trying to sell what makes the most political sense to them, ”Cuban said. “Like ‘Medicine for All’. Sounds good, but it’s about paying. It’s not about health. It doesn’t ask the question of how do we make people the healthiest and then pay for them? “
What Cubans want to do
Cuban pointed to an example of an unnamed drug on the market that another drug company bought before it increased the price by about 2000%.
He said he started working with a team of health experts to investigate how much it actually costs to make the drug.
“They said, ‘It’s not a huge market in relative terms. But it’s a $ 70 million market. But for that $ 70 million, it costs $ 250,000 to wholesale these drugs for the whole of the United States for a year ‘”said Cuban. “So I said, ‘Well why don’t we just fuck her off?'”
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He suggested buying a wholesaler or manufacturer to disrupt the drug market. “We’re going to start this club like Costco where you pay $ 100 to be part of the club and we’re going to go through this whole bunch of drugs we do and we’re going to bill you $ 100, but we’ll do it all at cost price plus 15%. ”
Cuban said he also funded a study with economists to get the numbers and create a health plan. “I sat there and said, ‘Okay, if I were to do this as an entrepreneur, what would I do?'” Cuban said. “The first thing I did was pull out insurance companies.”
His idea: Most large companies in the US are self-insured. Why couldn’t the country act similarly?
Specifically, his plan is for individuals or families who are 400% or less of the federal poverty line to receive free care through a single payer. However, those who earn more pays care according to need and pays a percentage of their annual income for coverage up to a maximum of 10%.
When he hired an economist to evaluate the plan, they estimated it would save $ 80 billion in a year, he said. RAND Corporation is working on a 10 year model of what the plan would do.
All of this leads to wondering again about Cuba’s political ambitions, even though his family this time “voted” the idea of running for president. Is there a future in politics for Cubans? Slavitt pressed.
“I don’t know,” he said.