But listening to Ignagni’s introduction of Sebelius, one would think that the insurance industry had been cooperating with Congress all along:
IGNAGNI: We entered 2009 with a major commitment to do something that was unexpected by various communities in the stakeholder arena, which is to commit to massive change in the way we do business. So we are on the page and fully committed to insurance reforms, not half steps, but massive change….we have proposed dramatic comprehensive solutions to get to the issue of affordable and predictability projection into the health care system…. We’re working very hard. We do not have all the problems solved, but you have our commitment, Madam Secretary, to continue this work with physicians and hospitals, to free them up to practice medicine.
Despite its public support for health care reform, however, the insurance industry has engaged in a “duplicitous” campaign to undermine the effort (and openly engaging in practices that undermine Ignagni’s rehtoric.) In January, the National Journal revealed that from September to December 2009, “six of the nation’s biggest health insurers began quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress.” The companies used AHIP “as a conduit to avoid a repeat of the political flack that hit the insurance industry after it famously ran its multi-million dollar ‘Harry and Louise’ ads to help kill health care reforms during the Clinton administration.”
Earlier, the industry had sponsored several reports criticizing the Senate legislation, and funded state efforts to challenge the constitutionality of health reform. Several insurers — including Aetna and UnitedHealth — have long been dues-paying members of the Chamber, which has just unveiled another round of health care reform ads.