The chief spokeswoman for the nation's private insurance companies is defending a report that many saw as the industry trying to kill the health care overhaul.
America's Health Insurance Plans issued the report just before the Senate Finance Committee voted last week, asserting that the bill would dramatically raise premiums. The report has been widely pilloried for not accounting for cost-saving measures in the bill. (To reach the entire bill, click here.)
In an opinion article in today's Washington Post, Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of AHIP, writes, "Let me be clear and direct: Health plans continue to strongly support reform. In fact, last year we proposed new insurance market rules and consumer protections to achieve universal coverage, remove restrictions on preexisting conditions and end the practice of basing premiums on health status or gender. We firmly believe that all the cost concerns the report raised can be resolved."
She adds, "The report's central finding has long been noncontroversial in health policy and economic circles: namely, that implementing reforms of the insurance market without a strong requirement that everyone participate will cause adverse selection and significantly increase costs for individuals and small businesses. This finding echoes the message President Obama delivered in his address to Congress last month."
But liberal groups supporting the health bills are continuing their assault on the insurance industry.
Americans United for Change released its latest ad today featuring an insurance horror story -- this one about a woman who purportedly was told she would have to be sterilized to keep coverage.
"The new spot is our latest salvo against the shameful practices of the health insurance industry, which finally dropped the ‘we want reform, too’ façade last week with AHIP’s release of that amazingly disingenuous “report” asserting of all things that reform would mean 'higher premiums' – laughable stuff coming from the folks that raised premiums three to four times faster than wages the last ten years," Americans United for Change said.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.