Today’s major newspapers are leading with an announcement from a coalition of the health insurance industry that, as my daddy used to say, simply states “good ol’ c.s.” (common sense):
Here’s the skinny on the announcement: When Obama’s health care plan forces higher expenses on health insurance companies, those companies will pass along the increased operating costs on to — guess who — you and me.
The announcement is the spearhead of a new, all-out-war publicity campaign by insurance companies. Expect to see lots of new TV ads. And the new campaign signals a “divorce” from the once happily-married Obama administration and insurance companies, along with their hush-hush White House love-fests only a few months ago.
Other groups are also feeling “burned” by Obama: “Hospitals and doctors have increasingly grumbled that the administration is not keeping bargains it struck over how many Americans would be covered under reform and what payment changes would be made.” (How many people and groups are NOW under Obama’s bus?)
From “New Bill Would Raise Rates, Says Insurance Group” in today’s Washington Post:
After months of collaboration on President Obama’s attempt to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, the insurance industry plans to strike out against the effort on Monday with a report warning that the typical family premium in 2019 could cost $4,000 more than projected.
The critique, coming one day before a critical Senate committee vote on the legislation, sparked a sharp response from the Obama administration. It also signaled an end to the fragile detente between two central players in this year’s health-care reform drama.
Industry officials said they intend to circulate the report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers on Capitol Hill and promote it in new advertisements. That could complicate Democratic hopes for action on the legislation this week.
The frontal assault, though not unexpected, was an illustration of the challenges that lie ahead as the president attempts to deliver the sort of health-care overhaul that has eluded his predecessors for decades. Though open to dispute, the analysis is certain to raise questions about whether Obama can deliver on his twin promises of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans while also curbing skyrocketing health-care costs.
Early in his quest, Obama wooed industry leaders in the hopes of neutralizing many of the players who helped defeat a similar effort by President Bill Clinton. Yet as the process has moved from high-minded concepts to legislative details, the tension has mounted. Hospitals and doctors have increasingly grumbled that the administration is not keeping bargains it struck over how many Americans would be covered under reform and what payment changes would be made.
But no industry has reacted with the same intensity as the insurance lobby.
“The report makes clear that several major provisions in the current legislative proposal will cause health care costs to increase far faster and higher than they would under the current system,” Karen Ignagni, AHIP’s president and chief executive, wrote to board members Sunday. “Between 2010 and 2019 the cumulative increases in the cost of a typical family policy under this reform proposal will be approximately $20,700 more than it would be under the current system.”
To No Quarter’s writers and readers, this is no news flash. This disastrous plan is going to hit every American — from low- to high-wage workers — in the wallet.
Sigh. It’s at times like this that I wish MY candidate, Hillary Clinton, had prevailed. While the Secretary of State is being a “good soldier” in voicing support for Obama’s plan — she is compelled to do so — don’t you think that, like you and me, that she KNOWS that this plan is just plain lousy and far too expensive for average Americans? Of course she does.
P.S. How long should Hillary stay in her post? She’s extremely effective as Secretary of State, by all accounts, and she is enjoying high approval from Americans. But I wonder how long Hillary can continue to support Obama’s ill-considered decisions and his worrisome inexperience. When I saw the news that Hillary was considering a run for governor of New York, I was excited. I hope she’s giving the governorship serious thought.