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.

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