This comes right about the time AHIP shyster-in-chief Karen Ignagni is pinky-swearing they weally weally still do totally want reform. Riiiiggghhhttt. What's an ark?Well, I guess it's safe to say private health insurers have no intention of rebuilding burnt bridges. Suzy Khimm noted the other day, "Activists on the left have long insisted that insurance companies aren't to be trusted. But up until now, it's been hard to make the charge stick, since the insurance lobby -- a.k.a., America's Health Insurance Plans -- has been cooperating with the White House and its allies."
That cooperation is officially over.
It started last week with a deceptive report on health care premiums. Soon after, insurers launched a new round of attack ads. Now, Sam Stein reports on the industry's message to Republicans.
A top lobbyist for the major private insurance industry trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), urged Congressional Republicans to not even consider helping Democrats pass health care reform lest they aid an "enemy who is down."
Steve Champlin, a lobbyist for the Duberstein Group who represents AHIP, declared that the road to a bipartisan health care reform bill was, essentially, dead. And he urged GOP members to keep it that way.
"There is absolutely no interest, no reason Republicans should ever vote for this thing. They have gone from a party that got killed 11 months ago to a party that is rising today. And they are rising up on the turmoil of health care," said Champlin. "So when they vote for a health care reform bill, whatever it is, they are giving comfort to the enemy who is down."
Chaplain made the remarks at an annual AHIP conference. He added that he expected reform with some kind of public option to pass, though he emphasized the importance of Republicans standing firm in opposition.
Steve Benen explains conversation enders on his way out to the woodshed to discuss same with Rep. Todd "I Totally Believe Debunked Talking Points About Canadian Hip Replacments" Akin. Might I just say: One of us! One of us!
Queen Olympia Snowe is trying to put the public option on ice, even going so far as to threaten to stand with Cons on a filibuster (was there ever any doubt?) if the Dems put in even a public option with opt-outs. Unfortunately for her, she did so when the Maine AFL-CIO was having a confab. They suspended their convention so that everybody could make a few pointed phone calls. I wish I'd been there when the calls started flooding in...
Speaking of opt-outs, that idea's gaining so much steam poor Ben Nelson's afraid we're going to end up with that icky old public option. Steve Benen's take was, as always, interesting and enlightening.
It's rather pathetic that Arlen Specter needed to have the connection between health care reform and people willing to take risks for the American entrepreneurial dream.
Mary Landrieu's drawn a line in the sand on the public option - and is standing squarely on the wrong side of it:
I don't think anyone who's as demonstrably stupid as Landrieu can realize simple facts like that.As for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who opposes the public option for bizarre reasons, and doesn't seem to understand precisely what the public option even is, she told NPR this afternoon that the polls showing strong national support for the idea don't matter, because Americans are wrong.
"I think if you asked, 'Do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt,' people would say 'No,'" Landrieu said.
Now, I'll gladly concede that popularity does not always denote merit. In other words, sometimes polls will show public attitudes pointing in one direction, but that doesn't make the direction necessarily correct.
But Landrieu's arguments are getting increasingly incoherent. Yes, if you asked people if they want the government to go bankrupt, chances are pretty good the poll results would be one-sided. But why on earth does Landrieu think a public option would bankrupt the government? Does she realize that the public option is a way to save money?
You know what Americans like as much as the public option? Subjecting the insurance industry to anti-trust laws. Damn skippy!
Elsewhere on the public option front, Nancy Pelosi says the President has been quite clear enough on his desire for the public option, thankyousoverymuch, and moreover is hunting down the votes she'll need to make sure we get a public option. I'm liking her more and more every day.
Rep. Weiner reminds his colleagues that there is no chance for a do-over. Hopefully, he'll manage to hammer that through a few thick skulls.
And, finally, Nate Silver believes the momentum's shifting in favor of the public option. Of all the things that have given me confidence that this could, indeed, happen, his assessment gives me the most optimism.
Strange feeling, that.