‘Fiscal Cliff’ Is a Financial Superstorm: Aetna CEO
Congress should act during the lame duck session to solve the country's major fiscal problems, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.
Pointing to hurricane Sandy as an example, the managed care CEO called the fiscal cliff a "financial superstorm" that the country needs to get its head around and act in the same way it did with the last hurricane.
Bertolini is advocating Congress gets to work on a solution to the fiscal cliff during the lame duck session.
"Given what we have today, which is no difference in the arithmetic of politics, it would be easier to do a lame duck session with the people that are leaving," he said.
"They ought to move forward with this and the president ought to get them together and say, 'listen, you owe me one, help me get this through.'" (Read More: For Investors, More Fed Easing, Cliff 'Heart Attack'.)
With the possibility that the country goes off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year pushing the economy into recession, Aetna is adding more contingency to its 2013 budget. That means the company is pulling back on investment and could be forced to lay off employees.
If the country does go off the fiscal cliff, Bertolini expects unemployment to rise one percentage point and health care cost trends to rise an equal one percentage point as people rush to go to the doctor before they lose coverage.
"In the end analysis what we need is leadership. I think what the CEO of our nation needs to do is convene, set the agenda, and say we don't come out of the room until we've got a deal," he said.