Health Insurance Companies Attack Health Care Reform
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.
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.