Or, it could be a drop in the bucket of money focused on killing reform that would provide coverage to millions of Americans. Apparently, AHIP has decided on the killing reform thing.
[T]he insurers have played the inside game, spending about $40 million on an army of lobbyists and lavishing campaign contributions on Democrats and Republicans to kill the public option. In all, the health industry spent $133 million in the second quarter alone, more than a million bucks a day.
And over the weekend, the association, which represents 1,300 insurers and HMOs across the country, told POLITICO’s Mike Allen that it was stepping up its activity, advising members to confront representatives critical of the industry at August town hall meetings.
Over at the Wonk Room, Igor has more:
According to the Wall Street Journal, insurers are also "pushing back against several proposals that lawmakers see as favorable to consumers. One proposal would prevent insurers from charging older Americans more than twice the rates charged to younger people. Insurers want to be able to charge older people as much as five times more." WellPoint Inc., the nation’s largest insurance company, has set up an "online network where it makes the case against the public health insurance plan and urges consumers to contact their elected officials."
The industry may not be re-playing the old ‘Harry and Louise ads,’ but it’s certainly twisting the legislation in its favor. If reports about the Senate Finance Committee’s bill are accurate — the bill will not contain a public option and would allow insurers to charge older Americans more than 7.5 times the rates charged to younger Americans — than the $173 billion the industry has spent on lobbying Congress was certainly a smart investment.
So all the conciliatory talk from AHIP was what cynics on the left figured it was--talk. They've got far too much at stake in this debate, as a new ad from Americans United for Change points out:
Tilted "GOP Rx," the ad goes after one of those executives in particular: Cigna CEO Ed Hanway, for earning a reported $73 million golden parachute upon retirement.
"Ed makes more in one day, than the average worker makes all year long," the script reads. "Now Ed's retiring with a seventy-three-million-dollar golden parachute. The Republican prescription for the health insurance crisis -- be as rich as Ed ... you'll be happy too."