Dems Attack Insurance Industry’s Last-Minute Effort to Kill Health Reform
The insurance industry over the weekend released a controversial report indicating that Americans’ insurance premiums would shoot up by thousands of dollars if the Democrats’ health reform bill becomes law. It was the industry’s attempt to kill the bill after months of claiming support for health reform, which, among other things, grants hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies to get tens of millions of uninsured Americans into private insurance plans.
Democrats attacked the report over the weekend, and they’re continuing the assault this morning as the Senate Finance Committee prepares to vote to send the bill to the chamber floor. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) pointed out that insurance companies have been hiking premiums at rates much higher than inflation for years, even absent any reform legislation. The recent report, Rockefeller added, represents “politicking for corporate gain at its worst.”
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) also used his opening statement to blast the industry, arguing that the last-minute resistance is exactly the reason that Congress should create a public insurance option to compete with the private insurers. The insurers’ decision to fight reform on the eve of the Finance vote, Kerry said, is “a disgrace” coming from “an industry that doesn’t deliver health care,” but instead hauls in enormous profits “just by being in the middle.”
There are already some rumblings that the insurers’ report could backfire. Indeed, a Finance Committee staffer told reporters yesterday that the move “will create a lot of momentum in the Senate to pass reform.”