Selling the rope

Kimberly Strassel wrote an interesting piece on July 10 in the WSJ, Democrats Hoodwink the Health Lobby — America’s health-care CEOs are being taken for a ride by Congress.

Here are my nominees for the 2009 Lenin Award for Faithful Service in Undermining Capitalism and Freedom of Choice:

  • The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).  Its “Harry and Louise” commercials are patronizing at best.  How dumb do they think people are?  (And how many people even remember the actors in the original “Hillary Care” version.  I don’t.)  Please fire the ad agency and genius who approved this embarrassment.
  • America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).  The health insurance trade group conceded almost everything except a public insurance alternative early on, only to have the entire health insurance industry vilified repeatedly by the President and liberal Democrats in the Congress.  (Talk about carpet bombing.)  Drawing the line on a public insurance option at least shows an unwillingness to climb the ladder to the gallows.
  • The American Medical Association (AMA). The leading doc group apparently reversed its opposition to a public insurance alternative after Dems agreed to “reset” statutory restrictions on physician reimbursement under Medicare.  Concerns over crowd out of private health insurance and a move towards single payer can wait.

I am also somewhat troubled by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) position. This organization of state regulators has lauded insurance reforms in Democrats’ proposals, including those that would require young people to pay more for health insurance so that pre-retirement baby boomers can pay less.  But, it has argued strongly that the states should enforce/administer any new health insurance regulations, and against a proposed national health insurance czar.

Only a handful of states have health insurance regulations that come close to what the Democrats propose.  I’m wondering how the insurance  commissioners behind the NAIC’s position can laud national health insurance regulations that have been rejected by most states?