Health Insurance Companies Attack Health Care Reform

Jenny Decker RN's picture
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In university research courses, students are taught how to evaluate a study by first determining who funds the research. The source of the research funding largely determines whether the study may have been flawed or biased in some way. On Sunday evening, a study backed by health insurance companies, meant to attack health care reform as a last ditch effort, was released. The study, or analysis, was completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, writes Associated Press.

According to health insurance provider’s top lobbyist in Washington, Karen Ignani, who is also the president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the PricewaterhouseCoopers has a good reputation as a world class firm. The study completed by this firm, backed by America’s Health Insurance Plans, states specific numbers of how the health insurance reform will affect Americans. For example, the study states that in the future, the legislation would add at least $1700 a year to family coverage expenses. The premium costs for a single person would increase by $600 if the legislation did not go through.

Finance Committee aids to Baucus commented that it is impossible to be able to predict these numbers so accurately due to the many facets of the bill that make it so complex. Neutral experts are attempting to evaluate the study and then release their opinions on what the health insurance companies have stated as a way to turn the tide in their direction.

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In fact, the health insurance companies were a major deterrent to Bill Clinton’s health care reform efforts in the nineties. They did much the same thing they are attempting to accomplish now: To put the fear into America’s hearts, thus preventing change that may well help the economy and the crisis America is in, as well as providing much needed health care to children and elderly, as well as those who are without health insurance and desperately need it.

For America’s Health Insurance Plans, money is the bottom line. It is not that a child with cancer gets needed treatment. It is not that mental health parity is important. Health insurance providers are scared. They are very scared. Why else would they come out with the study on the eve or two before a major vote to take place in the Finance Committee that could drastically affect them?

In response to the study, Democrats are clearly angry. White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass called the move “distorted and flawed.” AARP’s senior policy strategist, John Rother called it dishonest in a fundamentally wrong way. Even the spokesman for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont, called it a “hatchet job.”

Robert Laszewski, former health insurance executive turned consultant, basically reported that the health insurance industry is terrified. “The industry has come to the conclusion that the way things are going in Congress, we’ll have a formula that will be disastrous for their business so they can’t stand on the sidelines any longer.” Indeed, it is about time for them to be scared. Enough with premiums running so high that even the middle class family that makes a good income cannot afford to have health insurance.

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Comments

In a sense it is good that insurance companies are afraid, they should be. I am sure many people believe that they have happy little HMO's from their big fantastic company they work for, and they pay their premiums and get their exams and all is just wonderful. For those who work for employers that offer strong benefits packages, everything is wonderful, which is understandable why they are terrified of change. The insurance companies are playing their own customers against the rest of America. For the citizens, some old, most fresh out of college, who don't have coverage however, the world is not wonderful and there is always a lingering anxiety of "what if I get sick?" To say, "Well they deserve what they get" is extreme. What exactly do they deserve? Because they don't have a job that pay $40,000+ a year, they deserve to not have coverage? They deserve to live in fear of the day they get sick, get into a car accident, have a heart attack? It is very idealistic to want coverage for all Americans, but this country was founded on idealistic principles. Insurance for health care, should never have been allowed to be private business. It makes no sense to pay into a system knowing someone else is profiting of your health. Recently, the World Health Organization ranked the US as #37 best in Health Care. http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid107 This does not say much for America does it? Our health model is broken. Preventative care needs to be as much a part of the solution as stabilizing the insurance industry does. But what will it take for this nation to finally care about its own citizens?
I agree that preventative care is crucial to caring for America. It really should be a foundation, not a reaction to ill health. You also bring up a good point on the privatization of health care. I believe that the system is way too complex the way it is now to make a huge overhaul, however, if it continues, then it could be disastrous. Why do we have to have insurance anyway? Why doesn't the government cover everyone? Health care should be a right, not for those who can afford it. Thanks for your comment!