Just days after promising to “work together” with President Obama and Congress “to provide quality, affordable coverage and access for every American,” North Carolina’s Blue Cross Blue Shield is “putting the finishing touches on a public message campaign” aimed at defeating a new public health plan option:
In three 30-second videos, the insurer paints a picture of a future system in which patients wait months for appointments and can’t choose their own doctors, according to storyboards of the videos obtained by the Washington Post.
Insurers are working hard to protect their monopoly for covering Americans under 65 and the threat of a public options if motivating insurers to support cost containment and embrace of tight government regulations. They figure: agree to modified community rating now, hold off (i.e. eliminate the need) a public option in the final legislation.
But ironically, by attacking the new public option the industry is showing its hand. They oppose the public plan not because it will do what they claim — force patients to “wait moths for appointments” and not allow them to “choose their own doctors.” If that were the case, who’d sign up for such a thing? If the public health care plan really rationed care, then most Americans would stay with their private insurers.
They fear a public option because it may actually provide comprehensive benefits at a lower price and attract new beneficiaries. They fear it, because it would force them to compete with it. And for most Americans that would be a good thing.
Jason Rosenbaum points out:
Up until now, the disgraced CEO Rick Scott was the only one up on the air against Obama’s health care reform plans. Not even Republicans had a coordinated message to attack health care, at least not until Frank Luntz came along. But now, it looks like the message carried by Harry and Louise might be returning, once again payed for by an insurance industry desperately looking for any way to protect their profits in the face of competition and reform.