This morning the Department of Health and Human Services released an alarming new report on health insurance companies looking to raise rates by double digits in states across the country. And in the ultimate irony, the insurers' lobby has now piped up to complain about being "vilified" – and say that the solution to the huge increases is to pass reform.
Let's get this straight: the insurance companies have spent millions and millions on television ads and lobbyists to block health insurance reform. You've seen the ads they’re running. They're pulling out all the stops to maintain that status quo.
They want to defeat reform, which means they will be able to continue to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition and water down or eliminate your coverage when you need it the most. And as we saw in today’s report, they want to continue to raise your premiums by outrageous margins – often 5-10 times greater than health costs are rising. And all the while, they've been pulling down massive profits.
Of course the insurance companies don't like having the spotlight on their behavior. But at this critical juncture in our health reform debate, it's time to get beyond the TV ads and the press releases. This isn't "the politics of vilification," it's a sober look at the reality facing millions of hardworking American families and small businesses if we do nothing.
We’re going to continue to push for meaningful health insurance reform that gets control of skyrocketing costs, puts an end to insurance company abuses, extends coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, and lowers our deficit. Meanwhile, the insurers are defending their increases on American families by calling for passage of health reform, while running ads to defeat it... Imagine that.
Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director