Shorter health insurance industry: if you pass reform, we will fuck you up the ass by raising rates by 111%.Private health insurers haven't exactly played a constructive and supportive role on health care reform this year. So it's not especially surprising that, the day before the Senate Finance Committee votes on a reform plan, the industry's trade association is issuing a new series of warnings.
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.
Administration officials, who spent much of the spring and summer wooing the insurers, questioned the timing and authorship of the report, which was paid for by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry trade group.
Of course, they're trying to paint their little stunt just as a bit of public-minded concern trolling. They, like, totally have our best interests at heart. Oh, and PricewaterhouseCoopers is a wonderful world-class firm whose numbers are really real. So of course this report is totally truthful in all its particulars, and stuff.
Let's ask Ezra Klein (h/t):
Indeed.In the hallowed tradition of the tobacco and energy industries, the health insurance industry has commissioned a report (pdf) projecting doom and despair for those who seek to reform its business practices. The report was farmed out to the consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has something of a history with this sort of thing: In the early-'90s, the tobacco industry commissioned PWC to estimate the economic devastation that would result from a tax on tobacco. The report was later analyzed by the Arthur Andersen Economic Consulting group, which concluded that "the cumulative effect of PW’s methods … is to produce patently unreliable results." It's perhaps no surprise that the patently unreliable results were all in the tobacco industry's favor. He who pays the piper names the tune, and all that.
Needless to say, health care reform advocates aren't mincing words in expressing their disdain and displeasure. And the Senate Finance Committee's confident their little stunt actually backfired rather spectacularly, and shall make it easier to pass reform. And it looks like Pelosi's windfall profits tax on the insurance companies has a much better chance at succeeding. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.
Hell, even Cons are trying to be cautious about this one.
So, up until today, it looked like the lobbyists were winning. That revolving door between the halls of power and the halls of greedy corporate bastards had been working quite well for everybody but the common folk. We shall see if this throws a wrench into that happy state of affairs.
Just as a little extra encouragement for Congress to stick it to the malignant little bastards, let's ask insurance companies why they feel comfortable denying insurance to a 4 month-old because, they say, he's too fat.
In other stupid health care news, Bob Dole has been told by Mitch McConnell that he needs to stop making noises about supporting health care reform. Looks like the Cons are a little worried that Republican support for health care reform could show them up as the rabid bunch of idiot obstructionists they really are. Meanwhile, the other Republican supposed supporter of health care, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has just exercised his veto pen to ensure Californians won't have to worry about having decent, affordable health care just yet.
The other Sen. Nelson, good ol' Bill, is licking Olympia Snowe's boots telling her just how awesome her trigger idea is. Um, Bill? I don't know if you got the news, but as long as Dems don't join Cons in a filibuster, Snowe is surplus to requirements.
Did you hear? We have 51 for the public option in the Senate. Time to lean hard on the other nine to make damned bloody sure they don't betray their party and the vast majority of Americans desperate for reform.