As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Desperate Insurance Industry Now Running Ads Against Reform

(This post is part of my role as a blogger fellow with Brave New Films' Sick For Profit campaign)

Their strategy to blow up health care reform now blowing up in their face, the insurance industry kicked it up a notch today, by purchasing a million-dollar ad buy designed to scare seniors:

In a late-effort push to alter or torpedo health care reform, the major lobby for private insurers has made a multi-state, million-dollar ad purchase claiming that seniors will see their care cut under Democrat-crafted legislation.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which released a highly critical (and widely criticized) report slamming the Senate Finance Committee's reform proposal, has quietly put out a new spot claiming that millions of seniors will see their Medicare slashed by Congress.

"Is it right to ask 10 million seniors on Medicare advantage for more than their fair share?" the ad asks. "Congress is proposing over 100 billion in cuts to Medicare advantage. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says many seniors will see cuts in benefits."

You can see the ad here. It's airing in swing states with Democratic Senators: Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, Louisiana and Nevada.

One of two things is going on. The industry may truly be worried about the shape of reform and whether or not it will preserve its profits. Or they are giving space to the Baucus bill, the only one without a public option and the friendliest to their interests, so that liberals can be motivated to pass it or something like it. Savannah Guthrie just said this on MSNBC:

I think there will be courtship of those moderate Senators, but look, one thing I heard this morning here at the White House was that the insurance company report, the Price Waterhouse Cooper report, has actually been helpful to some extent (now granted this may be spin but let me just tell you what their argument is) is helpful because some of the liberal Senators who are concerned that the Baucus bill was just way too easy on the insurance companies, now have some cover. If the insurance companies think it's so objectionable that they're getting off the train and writing this report and signalling they're no longer at the bargaining table on health reform, it must be something that really hurts them.

Reform advocates are having NONE of that. MoveOn has slammed the Baucus bill, which just passed the Senate Finance Committee, in a video featuring health care hero and former CIGNA executive Wendell Potter.

"Take it from me, the Senate Finance bill is a dream come true of the health insurance industry. If there is not public option insurance companies aren't going to change. The choice of a public health insurance option is the only way to keep insurance companies honest."

This is only the beginning of the health care fight, not the end. But the insurance industry has laid their cards on the table. They are against reforming the system in any way that cuts into their profits. And they should not be appeased with a forced market and a monopoly on insurance.

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