In the New York Times today, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman writes in defense of the Senate health care bill. “[F]or all its flaws and limitations, it’s a great achievement,” he says. “It will provide real, concrete help to tens of millions of Americans and greater security to everyone.” But the health insurance industry and business lobbyists weren’t quite as joyous in their reaction.
The Hill writes, “the health insurance industry expressed disappointed opposition…and big-business groups slammed the bill.” The Indianapolis Star adds, “The big losers, at the moment, seem to be insurers.” Here’s a sampling of their reactions:
— The health insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), criticized the Senate health care bill, arguing it would “increase, rather than decrease, health care costs; reduce coverage options; and disrupt existing coverage for families, seniors and small businesses.”
— The health insurance company Aetna complained that the bill “has not done enough on addressing costs,” and is lobbying for greater subsidies that — in the absence of a public plan — would help pay for more expensive private coverage.
— Bruce Josten, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also criticized the bill, calling it “counterproductive” and argued “it is not reform.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that health-care stocks “fell after the Senate’s approval of the health bill.” Insurance giants “WellPoint, Humana and Aetna were among the health-care sector’s decliners Thursday. WellPoint dropped 1.3%, while Humana fell 1% and Aetna was also off 1%.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Avery Johnson reports:
Big insurers are still hoping to influence some language in the legislation before Congress sends it to the president. But one thing is clear: The initiative is poised to change their industry more than any other sector of the U.S. health-care system, with huge potential to disrupt profitability.