Earlier this week, the health insurance lobby AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) issued a false and dishonest report claiming that the Baucus health care bill would increase health care costs. Even the firm hired to do the analysis — PriceWaterhouseCoopers — backpedaled from the report’s conclusions. The insurance lobby’s strategy backfired as it appeared to alienate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who voted with the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee. But Republicans dutifully peddled the study to try to sink health reform. In his weekly address, President Obama struck back at the insurance lobby, calling them out for their deception and deceit:
This is the unsustainable path we’re on, and it’s the path the insurers want to keep us on. In fact, the insurance industry is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest – to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo. They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they’re funding studies designed to mislead the American people. [...]
It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, “Take one of these, and call us in a decade.” Well, not this time. The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy – that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people. And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exception from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.