CVS Health Faces ObamaCare Repeal Question

Executives Quizzed About Working With Trump Administration on Free-Market Health Care Reform

As New Health Care Legislation Heads to the Senate and an Uncertain Future, Free Enterprise Project Says Corporations That Supported ObamaCare Have a Moral Obligation to Advance Repeal and Replacement

Woonsocket, RI / Washington, D.C. – Citing CVS Health’s previous promotion of the Affordable Care Act, a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) questioned CEO Larry Merlo at today’s annual meeting of shareholders about the retail pharmacy chain’s position on recent congressional efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“Companies that once promoted ObamaCare have a moral obligation to work with the Trump Administration and congressional leaders to advance a better path forward for the American health care system,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who attended CVS Health’s annual investor event in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and directly questioned Merlo.

At the meeting, Danhof noted:

When former President Obama sought assistance with his signature health care law, CVS Health partnered with the White House to promote ObamaCare and its exchanges. Largely unpopular, ObamaCare proved to be a failure as premiums skyrocketed, large insurers took massive taxpayer bailouts and many insurers left the exchanges altogether…

CVS shares responsibility for the pain ObamaCare has caused the American people; therefore, it is incumbent on the company to be part of the solution…

As this new political climate offers a unique opportunity for both private industry and health care consumers, I have three quick questions. Do you feel that CVS has a responsibility to help fix the overall health care marketplace since it was involved in the promotion of ObamaCare? Will you work with the Trump Administration and Congress to promote their health care agenda as you did with the Obama Administration? And what specific reforms would you suggest to our new President?

Danhof’s entire question, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“Merlo certainly recognized the role competitive markets play in advancing health care innovation. To the extent that an ObamaCare replacement may do so, it’s my impression that CVS will work with folks in Washington to get that done,” said Danhof. “As to specific reforms, Merlo mentioned the Food and Drug Administration’s backlog of nearly 4,000 drugs – many of them generics – that are waiting for approval. He rightly pointed out that an influx of properly vetted generic drugs would reduce overall health care costs without sacrificing quality.”

Earlier this year, at the shareholder meeting of Walgreens Boots Alliance, another pharmacy chain in competition with CVS Health, Chairman James Skinner indicated to the National Center that his company would be willing to work with the Trump Administration on replacing Obamacare with a free-market alternative. Following that meeting, Danhof joined former congressman J.D. Hayworth on “Newsmax Prime” to discuss why it is so important for corporations to work with the White House on health care reform.

Danhof also recently confronted Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky and Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks with similar questions about the potential involvement of their companies in helping the Trump Administration replace ObamaCare.

Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group – focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Since 2014, National Center representatives have participated in nearly 100 shareholder meetings to advance free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. This is the thirteenth shareholder meeting the FEP has attended in 2017.

FEP activism has yielded a tremendous return on investment:

  • FEP’s highly-publicized questioning of support for the Clinton Foundation by Boeing and General Electric helped trigger an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundation’s activities that dominated the 2016 presidential campaign.
  • FEP inquiries prompted Facebook to address political bias against conservatives in social media.
  • Company executives acknowledged media bias at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) in response to FEP’s challenges, which helped to bring about more objective reporting and more balanced political representation. 
  • FEP’s “Employee Conscience Protection Project” strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations.

So far in 2017, FEP has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, Newsmax TV, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Denver Post, Drudge Report, Business Insider, Orlando Sentinel, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and SiriusXM. In 2016, FEP was also featured in the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune among many others. The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.