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What Would Universal Coverage Do To The Redundancy Industry?

What Would Universal Coverage Do To The Redundancy Industry?

July 18, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards was on Colbert last night, more than holding her own and speaking out for universal coverage and ending poverty:

Colbert, defending the insurers, pleaded for the redundancy industry.

He should get his talking points from the new effort by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) - the insurance industry trade association - to raise an activist army of 100,000 to promote their take on health reform (report here). The expensive campaign will involve public listening-session roundtables (including Boston), web and blogs, paid media ads, and a high-cost grassroots component.

This is an attempt to move somewhat off the rejectionist stance typical of the insurance industry. They've enlisted Clinton HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and a former John Edwards organizer, among those you would not expect to play. Yet their policy still exudes the cherry-picking mentality that rules most insurers: "If states were to provide coverage for those too expensive to insure, [AHIP spokesman Michael Tuffin] said, the industry would be willing to offer guaranteed coverage to everyone else..."
Brian Rosman

UPDATE: This post, from the Managed Care Matters blog, makes the point clearer:

Of course, health plans have a solution to this [all but 5 states allow insurers to reject coverage of preexisting conditions; MA is one of the exceptions] - they will cover a few more folks with pre-ex conditions, as long as the states agree to cover anyone with more serious problems. Now that's free market business at its best - guaranteeing private companies will take the good risks, and dumping the rest on the taxpayer. The plan, put together after "tireless efforts of the senior leadership of our industry" and seven months of hard work by AHIP's board would require state high-risk pools to take on anyone who may incur medical costs more than twice the state average, while requiring insurers to cover the rest.

If there's a clearer statement of the industry's lack of confidence in its ability to manage health care, I haven't seen it..... AHIP should change its name from America's Health Insurance Plans to the ARSC - America's Risk Selection Companies.