Does Bernie Sanders’ claim about insurers and drug makers’ profits check out?

Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has claimed that the health insurers and drug makers earn $100 billion a year off the U.S. health system, but some people have questioned whether that figure is accurate.

A January 15, 2020, Kaiser Health News article examined the methodology Sanders’ campaign used to arrive at the number, which involves adding 2018 net revenues of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and top 10 health insurance companies. Numerous experts reviewed the methods and math and agreed that it was generally accurate, and likely an underestimate.

Ellen Meara, a professor of health economics and policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, raised concerns with just focusing on drug companies and insurers. “You could ask the same questions of health systems and not-for-profit hospitals who are raising prices at a steady clip,” she said. “If you’re going to go after industry, you need to go after the whole system and say prices are a problem everywhere.”

Read the Kaiser Health News article: Sanders Targets Health Industry Profits. Are His Figures Right?