Health Insurance Lobby Strikes Back
The Washington Post (read it here) covered the health insurance response to Pres. Obama's recent change of health reform vocabulary; he now commonly refers to health overhaul efforts as "health insurance reform". Members of the President's cabinet are even more aggresive.
"The current health-care system gives insurance companies all the power,"
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said in
Tuesday's Washington Post. "They get to pick and choose who gets a policy. They
can deny coverage because of a preexisting condition. They can offer coverage
only at exorbitant rates -- or offer coverage so thin that it's no coverage at
all," Sebelius wrote.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was even more blunt in her assessment of health insurers:
"They are the villains in this. It's almost immoral, what they are doing,"
The health insurance industry is fighting back:
The nation's leading health insurance lobby on Tuesday lashed back at its
critics, saying that a campaign "to demonize health plans" is a "major step
back" for efforts to reform health care.
"For a country that's trying to
accomplish what it has failed to do for a century, namely pass health-care
reform, the same old Washington politics of 'find an enemy and go to war' is a
major step back," Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans,
said in a conference call with reporters.
Ignagni vowed to "set the record
straight about our community's contribution to the reform effort."
reiterated her group's opposition to a government-run health insurance option,
saying it would bankrupt hospitals, send private insurers into a death spiral
and break the promise that people could keep the coverage they already
The health insurance business model is the principle source of inefficiency waste in our nation's health system, and contributes substantially to the problem of quality waste. Democrats have clearly decided that it is in their political interest to pick a fight with health insurers. Whether or not we should have a federal or public option among health plans is, however, the wrong fight to pick. Why not spend the energy explaining to the American people that keeping the 'coverage' they already have is perpetuating a poor business model?
Dr. Joe Jarvis