The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Ugly? You haven’t SEEN ugly.

Posted by ALmod on October 14, 2009

Robert Stein has a great writeup on how we ain’t seen nothing yet as far as health insurance interests rallying opposition to reform.  Now that Congress will be working on a final bill for the full vote of both houses with all sorts of ways for it to be hacked into pieces and put back together again, you can easily predict that industry interests will be in overdrive to kill it.

Stein does an excellent job of summing things up here:

The saddest part of the spectacle in the coming weeks will be the near-impossibility of a rational public conversation about the issue in a time when TV ads will make “Harry and Louise” look like “The Waltons” and the staged public outrage will make the Tea Parties look like tea parties.

Indeed.  Though we can only hope that their moves of the past few weeks are signs as to exactly where health insurers might be headed.  They seem to have become quite pro at shooting themselves in the foot lately.

The fact that Beth McCaughey was outed (and then resigned after being owned in an interview with Jon Stewart, of all people) as a lobbyist and Rick Scott (head of Conservatives for Patients’ Rights) was openly the same Rick Scott who had to step down as the company he led pled guilty to one of the largest cases of insurance and Medicare fraud in history wasn’t even HALF as humiliating as the report AHIP released last week.  It was laughable enough at face value.  To start with, AHIP stands for America’s Health Insurance Plans.  This is the group who funded a report that basically contradicted every single other report out there.  Not only was it incredibly misleading by only reporting on measures that (migh, maybe, possibly) increase costs while ignoring the gazillions of other measures that would lower them, but it even said that it was misleading in the very footnotes of the report!  The report also was their way of saying that, left unchecked and without competition, private health insurers would increase their premiums– quite possibly giving their own argument as to why a public option might be needed to compete with them.  Shot one fired.  Shot two fired.

Then, without any prompting by FactCheck (or so they say), the company that compiled the report for AHIP comes out with a statement in which they fact check themselves and state that their report is extremely misleading.  You can’t make this up!  Shot three fired.

But the biggest hit to the health insurance interests has to be the story of Rep. Jane Harman— a Blue Dog Democrat.  You’ve heard of the Blue Dogs, right?  The Blue Dogs would be the reason why the Dems are not currently passing the most liberal piece of legislation they can muster despite their overwhelming majority.  Well, Harman became a much bigger proponent of a public option when that which has been happening to so many insured Americans happened to her own 27-year-old son.  He was dropped from his health insurance for– get this– a torn eardrum.

As Del put it (and I’m paraphrasing), we can probably assume that they forgot to mark his file with a big, red Post-It that said, “Do not revoke.  His mother is a congresswoman.”

Laura Sanchez was already on board, but I’m sure that Rep. Harman’s story will resonate with other mothers and fathers (and grandmothers and grandfathers) who call themselves Blue Dogs.  The uninsured and the poor aren’t the majority of the people who need good reform to pass.  They aren’t even close to being a majority.  The insured middle class are the ones getting the worst deal until something changes.  (After all, we’re the ones stuck with those private insurers who openly admitted that they’d want to raise their premiums while they have no real competition.  The poor and elderly already have government options.  And I’m sure that middle-class bankruptcy can’t be good for the economy.)  Shot four fired.

Now, right about now I feel like it’s that scene in Dirty Harry and Clint Eastwood is asking…  If you count McCaughey and Scott, did they fire five shots or was it six?  I’ve lost count.  So if you’re the health care industry and you’re about to start aiming that gun about chest or head level, you have to ask yourselves one question.  Do I feel lucky?  Well do ya… punks?

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One Response to “Ugly? You haven’t SEEN ugly.”

  1. […] Ugly? You haven’t SEEN ugly. […]

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