Insurance companies aren't playing nice any more. Their dire message that health care legislation will drive up premiums for people who already have coverage comes as a warning shot at a crucial point in the debate and threatens President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.So lets all be clear about what these thieves are saying. Unless health care reform put millions of new customers into their coffers then they will lie, cheat and scare the hell out of Americans.
Democrats and their allies scrambled on Monday to knock down a new industry-funded study forecasting that Senate legislation, over time, will add thousands of dollars to the cost of a typical policy. "Distorted and flawed," said White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass. "Fundamentally dishonest," said AARP's senior policy strategist, John Rother. "A hatchet job," said a spokesman for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.
But the health insurance industry's top lobbyist in Washington stood her ground. In a call with reporters, Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, pointedly refused to rule out attack ads on TV featuring the study, though she said she believed the industry's concerns could be amicably addressed.
At the heart of the industry's complaint is a decision by lawmakers to weaken the requirement that millions more Americans get coverage. Since the legislation would ban insurance companies from denying coverage on account of poor health, many people will wait to sign up until they get sick, the industry says. And that will drive up costs for everybody else.
It is time to use the existing laws to put these worthless pigs out of business. It is time that we demand a robust public option with the goal of single payer not too far behind. They have shown their hand again and its not pretty. They know a robust public option will diminish their profits and cause them to have to actually pay claims made by their paying customers. It is time to call their bluff and put into the bill a trigger of single payer health care if the premiums rise more than a certain percentage. Two can play at this game.