August 10, 2009
Insurance companies have become the main target regarding the debate over reforming the U.S. health care system.
It is the plan of the Obama administration and the Democrats to dedicate August to the battle of winning over popular support for the expansion of health care coverage. At the same time the insurance industry is mobilizing through an advertising campaign to critique both the cost and the scope of a major systemic overhaul. The main target for health reform advocates who are looking for a target for ballooning U.S. health care costs has become the insurance companies.
Paul Heldman, an analyst with Potomac Research Group, says that all great legislative debates are in need of a villain and that it was simply a matter of time before the debate grew so passionate that insurers were singled out as being the enemy.
This difficult debate in the end will possibly decide if President Obama will be able to follow through with his pledge to expand health care coverage to include roughly 46 million Americans who now lack it.
Democrats are looking specifically at insurers, Obama discusses "health insurance reform" rather than simply health reform. Nancy Pelosi the speaker of the House of Representatives recently heated up the debate by referring to insurers as being immoral and villainous.
Sen. John Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, points to the insurance companies as the ones who mess up the health care system. He says that people are being taken advantage of. He says it's not true for all insurance companies, but insurance companies as a whole. He says that's what they do.
In a Quinnipiac poll taken last month, 69 percent of U.S. voters report backing government-run insurance. This is in spite of the fact that most people who already have coverage say they are at least somewhat satisfied with it.
Some of the Democratic written proposals are calling for changes that might impact the industry, and this includes a government-run public option in regards to which President Obama has said that it is needed to keep the insurance companies honest. It is also possible that insurers might see taxes added to so-called deluxe plans that are being sold to corporate executives in addition to cuts to private Medicare plans known as Medicare Advantage.
Senate Democrats who work for the White House, have attained cost-cutting deals with hospitals and drug manufacturers. But hope for an agreement with insurers is fading.
The chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans’ Karen Ignagni, told reporters that a campaign has been launched to demonize healthcare plans.
She says that this same old Washington politics of finding an enemy that you can go to war with is a major step backward, not a step forward.
America's Health Insurance Plans represents Cigna Corp, WellPoint Inc, UnitedHealth Group Inc, Aetna Inc, and others.
They are launching a national cable television advertising campaign in August, but a spokesman refused to disclose how much it plans to spend.