AHIP says private insurance being 'demonized'

As health reform works itself out, everyone's favorite health insurance lobby is arguing that its industry is being "demonized" in the discussion. And in all fairness, it seem that they are getting the sharp end of the stick these days, driven partly by the fact the consumers are more than a little angry with them.

Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, complained this week that health plans have been tagged as the enemy, a victim of "the same old Washington politics." This is doubtless, in part, due to her industry being called "the villains" in the health reform debate by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Pelosi is upset that AHIP is so opposed to there being a public, government-run health insurance option in the final reform bill.

President Obama, for his part, has slowly but surely moved from talking "healthcare reform" to talking "healthcare insurance reform," as polls, apparently, have suggested that the public feels particularly resentful toward health plans.

The reality, however, is that most health system reform seems to give private health plans a large, and lucrative, role despite the trash talking on the Hill. If I were them, I'd stop bitching and start being grateful that single-payer didn't get any real momentum. But hey, when you're used to being king of the hill, being archduke doesn't sound so good, I suppose.

To learn more about AHIP's complaint:
- read this Health Leaders Media article