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Blue Cross continues desperate bid to derail health reform

As we’ve reported before, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is mighty frightened of competition here in North Carolina where it enjoys a near monopoly. The company was even working with Capstrat shills to produce web ads attacking a public health care option. Once the White House called Blue Cross CEO Bob Greczyn to task, he backed off of the ads. But the misleading continues.

On its website Blue Cross (well, OK, the hired hands at Capstrat) are scouring the internet to find negative stories about “government run” health care. The idea is to scare people into thinking that someone in Washington is plotting a secret single-payer coup.

The latest Blue Cross/Capstrat blog post begins:

As the U.S. debates how best to improve its health care system, government-run health plans in Europe are struggling with their own issues over cost and access.

The next paragraph describes the horror story of a Canadian woman who had to pay out-of-pocket for a brain operation in the United States. You can follow this link for a world map if you want to check out the relative locations of Canada and Europe.

There are also a few predictable stories about the British National Health System. It turns out that the incredibly complicated process of providing health care to people isn’t perfect anywhere. I’m not sure who thinks that is news.

Blue Cross/Capstrat also posted a video of the benefits manager of BB&T explaining — sort of — why he likes private insurance. It looks like insurance company strongmen carried this poor guy into a back room, beat him up and forced him to say something nice. Banks endorsing insurance companies! I feel warm and fuzzy already.

And, finally, there is a link to the NYT story “Medicare’s Mixed Legacy.” The story basically says that Medicare is really popular and helps many vulnerable people. The major downsides listed in the article are that it’s expensive — as is all health care in the United States — and it hasn’t pushed hard enough on payment reform, and that’s changing.

The problem with this entire pathetic Blue Cross/Capstrat endeavor is the attempt to equate health reform with a government takeover of health care. Sen. Max Baucus had single-payer advocates arrested. I think that’s as clear a message as he can send.

The second ridiculous idea is that private insurance companies will evaporate if a public option is available. True, Bob Greczyn might have to survive on less than $4 million per year, although I doubt even that would happen. Heck, Blue Cross might have to spend less buying influence with lawmakers and creating misleading websites. No wonder Capstrat is scared.

The truth is that no one is seriously talking about recreating the British or Canadian health systems here. Instead, reform proposals are focused on giving every consumer the same choices for health insurance available to members of Congress.

4 Comments

  1. gregflynn

    July 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    BCBS NC doesn’t appear to have any registered DC lobbyists. Are they doing their House & Senate lobbying through the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association?

  2. Adam Linker

    July 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I’m not sure.

  3. Adam Searing

    July 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Since the BCBS association in DC has about 700 employees, I think they are probably taking care of bidness up there

  4. Scott Greene

    July 9, 2009 at 2:46 am

    The product of health insurance is to provide you with medical coverage when you need it.
    Unlike other businesses that need to provide you with their product in order to make any money, health insurance companies actually make more money for themselves when they restrict and do not pay claims.
    In other words, they make more money when they do NOT provide the product that you have paid them for.

    Read the 50 to 70 pages of your health insurance contract.
    Pay particular attention to the section entitled “limitations and exclusions”.
    People’s health is not a product that needs to be left to the whims of money motivated CEO’s and stockholders.
    If that is your thinking, you might as well have your police and fire department protection based on insurance premiums you pay.
    Then you can go to the police and fire protection insurance page for ‘limitations and exclusions’ on whether or not the police or fire department would come out to your house in the event of an emergency.

    The point is, you would never think of discriminating against another citizen if he was the victim of a fire or crime.
    So why would you be ok with health insurance companies discriminating against fellow citizens who have pre-existing medical conditions?