Yes, it was only a matter of time before the health insurance industry hired some expensive PR firm and came up with a front group on the health exchange issue. Former insurance industry insider and whistleblower Wendell Potter lays it all out in this article about the new slightly scary sounding “Choice and Competition Coalition.”
It’s the usual suspects – the national Blue Cross Association, the drug industry, the health insurance association, and so on.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so consumer advocates in NC should feel proud that those fancy New York PR consultants whipped up a website that looks a lot like our REAL consumer group here in NC: Citizens for Responsible Health Care. Bet just this new fancy website cost more than the annual budgets of most of our real consumer groups.
And weirdly, the fake group’s list of supporters mirror the supporters of the industry bill in North Carolina, H115. Funny how that works.
What’s nice about this new front group is that it lays bare what the industry really wants – the status quo. The overriding principle is to pull the teeth of any new health exchange so it is no more than a web portal for insurers to continue to sell their products without restraint. There’s plenty of talk about freedom from “burdensome regulation” but absolutely no talk about the billions of dollars in tax credits that will be flowing directly from taxpayer pockets into the hefty bank accounts of the insurance industry through the exchanges.
In the end it’s the same old story. Insurers are eager to get the millions of new customers and the millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies they bring to buy their products. But insurers don’t want any stricter state requirements that they actually offer good value for all this public investment.