Update: The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 today, 13 Oct, (Olympia Snowe, R-ME, was the sole Republican to vote with the Democratic majority) to pass the Health Care Reform Legislation they have been working on since January.
For years Big Medicine–led by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)–has been planning to obliterate the next attempt at health care reform. I call it their “nuclear option.”
For the past year I’ve been sleuthing between the lines of the great media Sturm und Drang over health care reform legislation for clues to what AHIP was up to, which turned out to be far easier than I ever imagined. I assumed that they were trying to surreptitiously maneuver their anti-health reform nuclear device into position. Only it wasn’t very surreptitious. They were clumsy, overplayed their hand, their corporate brow becoming sweatier by the week. So, today, AHIP released a study that was supposed to turn us all to stone. Or something like that. It had to be outrageously expensive to commission. Therefore the anticipated effect should have been just as extreme, reasserting their ascendancy over all things health care related. MSNBC reported:
The study commissioned by America’s Health Insurance Plans marked a shift in strategy by the industry, which had been working for months behind the scenes to help shape health care legislation. With the Senate panel set to vote on legislation the industry fears could result in a loss of revenue, the insurers went on the attack, in dramatic fashion.
Maybe MSNBC can’t say AHIP’s plan has come apart at the seams, is in disarray, and the attack is a panic attack, but I can. I’m writing political commentary. AHIP should have called PhRMA and asked for a few semi’s filled with tranquilizers sent over to their headquarters. But then AHIP would have to exercise rescission on itself for a pre-existing condition, a psychiatric anxiety disorder. Or else, raise the rates on themselves so high for filing a claim that no one in AHIP could afford their own insurance. To my way of thinking that leaves the Big Wigs of AHIP with the sole option of chewing on their fingernails.
Despite hundreds of millions of our health care dollars spent on lobbying and advertising by AHIP–the money we pay for the health insurance that is supposed to cover our medical costs–the wave of public sentiment, including many progressive politicians, for universal health care, a public option, and a right to medical care has grown higher and stronger. It has begun to crest, a powerful rolling tube of determination racing toward the shore.
The strategies of Big Medicine, on the other hand, have been not at all as successful as they believed their money and influence should be. They are angry; they are frustrated. No one, they believe, has the right to interfere with their carefully crafted system that keeps the people at the top fabulously wealthy while the common rabble who pay them grow less and less healthy, creating desperation for medical care at any price those at the top choose to charge. No one! It must be stopped regardless of the consequences.
Today, instead of stunned submission, they got unbridled derision.
As reported by the Associated Press, the new report was immediately blasted for its conspicuous conspicuousness:
Questions about the technical soundness of the industry analysis by the PricewaterhouseCoopers firm was a big part of the discussion Monday. The release of the study late Sunday on the eve of the federal Columbus Day holiday had Democrats crying foul.
“The misleading and harmful claims made by the profit-driven insurance companies are politicking for corporate gain at its worst,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
You can read AHIP’s defense of the report by their spokesperson, Nancy Ignagni, who was interviewed by the News Hour’s Margaret Warner, by clicking here. I watched the interview. Nancy looked very grim and used lots of insurance jargon as a way to sound quite peckish and put-out with all of us mere peons who immediately recognized this report was the biggest crock of bantha poodoo since George the 43rd declared “Mission Accomplished” in, what was it, 1383.
Nevertheless, it is zero hour. The anti-health care reform atomic bomb is in position. AHIP has its finger on the button. They will not be trifled with. The so-called “report” (undoubtedly a work of fiction so cleverly devised it would make Dan Brown envious) is the start of the count-down clock.
Make no mistake about it. AHIP will push that button. Only the will of the American People, demanding from the President and the Congress no compromise on the establishment of Universal Health Care will determine whether or not the bomb goes off.