Subjects: Health policy
Hillarycare was already on the ropes in ’93 when Big Insurance landed a haymaker in the form of Harry and Louise, a TV commercial series featuring 2 everyday Americans scared sleepless that health reform meant government meddling and bloated bureaucracy.
Now, the Big O claims we can’t tame deficits without a health care do-over and HHS nominee Kathleen Sebelius adds that 40% of recent home foreclosures are related to financial stress caused by uninsured health expenses, so it would be vexing indeed if Big insurance scuppered reform yet again.
But recently, things have turned frosty.
Big Insurance has warned it will oppose any plan involving a government-sponsored insurer that competes against the privates, a cornerstone of several reform proposals, including those of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sebelius herself.
And don’t look now but Big Insurance may secure providers as allies on the matter.
Mayo Clinic boss Denis Cortese is on record for example, with concerns that a public insurer would underpay providers, as Medicare has done to Mayo, according to Cortese, to the tune of $840 million in the last year alone.
Meanwhile, Harvard health economist Regina Herzlinger has pointed out that the apparent cost advantages of a government run program are in part an artifact of accounting trickery.
The Feds don’t have to set aside funds to meet future obligations like Big Insurance does, she told the Economist. “The government does not have the $36 trillion needed to finance the services it has promised to those who pay for Medicare.”