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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."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:16 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We're in the Us against Them fight of the mil... (16+ / 0-)

    lenium here on the Healthcare Reform movement.

    This is one we need to win.

  •  7.5 times more for older folks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeeDee001, mcmom

    Unconsionable. And bizarre that people think it's the left -- the side that brought about Social Security and Medicare -- has a plan to kill seniors.

    •  I only laugh at my patients with Medicare (8+ / 0-)
      ... who oppose health care reform.  "But you're on Medicare!" is my incredulous reply.  Usually there is some expression that they've been roped into it, with no choice.  "Do you think you could afford private insurance in this market, without serious regulation like reform is going to provide?" is the follow-up.  Generally shuts them down.

      "I would say to you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" Bzzzt! Sorry Barry, thanks for playing.

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:22:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can we bring back a weekend Diary? (0+ / 0-)

      This is such a good job

      Power Point by math4Barak

      That it deserves to be seen again.

      Thank you

      "Never, desist till we ... extinguish this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, will scarce believe that it suffered a disgrace and dishonor to this country.

      by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:23:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, old people DO cost more (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WillR

      I'm an actuary, this is what I do for a living (estimate the cost of care). The fact is, old people cost a lot more than young people. They're sicker, they go to the hospital more, they take more drugs. I'm not going to opine on whether it's "fair" for people that use more to pay more, but if you set a maximum value of 2x the lowest premium for the maximum premium, you'd see the cost for a 25 year old single male increase significantly (double or triple).

      If you want everyone to "pay the same amount", then the only realy option is a single payer system and mandatory coverage that is provided through a tax. Maybe that's the solution. (Again, not going to opine on that.)

      I may write a diary if there's interest on explaining more. Look forward to comments.

    •  The 7.5:1 ratio is way, way too high (0+ / 0-)

      I could accept a 3:2 ratio or even a 3:1 ratio but not a 7.5:1 ratio.  And being 29 years old, I say this as someone who would be bearing the costs of subsidizing older people.  [Heck, because I live in MA, I do it now.]  I accept the sacrifice I must make for older Americans to have health insurance.

  •  Already happening (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcmom, beltane

    . . . it was stepping up its activity, advising members to confront representatives critical of the industry at August town hall meetings.

    We have the majority. It's Democrats vs. Democrats stopping universal, quality, affordable healthcare.

    by mrobinson on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:22:33 PM PDT

  •  We need to be clear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, NoMoreLies, mcmom

    and making a lot of noise about the interconnected nature ... and outright fraud ... of much of the anti-health care/anti-clean energy/anti progress lobbying.

    Big news on the clean energy lobbying front, with the biggest coal organization linked to false letters to Congress.  See: "We are Outraged!" From "Clean Coal Santa" to Black Faced Astroturfing?

  •  I call the AHIP a few times a week (2+ / 0-)

    Today they are saying that they are agreeing to support most of the DEMs plans.  Well, why don't they put their money where their mouth is and offer insurance to INDIVIDUALS with pre-existing conditions RIGHT NOW.  THEY DON'T!  We need a public option.  AHIP is the enemy.  We need to give major concessions to the SMALL BUSINESS LOBBY.  End the employer mandate.

  •  firedoglake collecting events (5+ / 0-)

    and townhall schedules so we can go ask Rep's if they support the public option. Looks like the wingnuts beat us to it. Rep. Jay Inslee [WA-progressive] is holding a virtual conference town-call because the last meeting was attended by the Republican tea shouters.

    http://campaignsilo.firedoglake.com/...

    We have the majority. It's Democrats vs. Democrats stopping universal, quality, affordable healthcare.

    by mrobinson on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:26:50 PM PDT

  •  just donated $25 to keep this ad running (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigOkie, 714day, Pakalolo

    Pointing out that the health insurance executives are reaping windfall profits while we suffer may seem too obvious to DKos readers, but it's precisely what the average American needs to be reminded of.

  •  Keith Olbermann to Expose (12+ / 0-)

    Congressional Opponents of Universal Health Care Tonight.

    Email from Michale Moore:

    We've just received an advance transcript of tonight's Special Comment by Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC show. It is nothing short of brilliant -- and if all of America were to hear what he is going to reveal tonight, we are certain the vast majority of Americans would be on the phone to their elected representative immediately, calling for an end to the private, for-profit, rip-off health insurance companies who have wrecked our country.

    Here's a brief section of Keith's editorial tonight:

    "Congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas. Leader of the Blue Dogs in the House. You're the guy demanding a guarantee that Reform won't add to the deficit. I'm guessing you forgot to demand that about, say, Iraq. You're a Democrat, you say, Congressman?

    "You saw what Sandy Barham said? Sandy Barham is 62 years old, she's got a bad heart, and she's hoping her valves will hold together for three more years until Medicaid kicks in, because she can't afford insurance. Not just for herself, mind you. For her employees. She needs the public option. So do those six people who work at that restaurant of hers, Congressman Ross.

    "And why should you give a crap? Because Sandy Barham's restaurant is the Broadway Railroad Café, and it is at 123 West First Street North in Prescott, Arkansas. Prescott, Arkansas, Congressman Ross. Your home town. You are Sandy Barham's congressman. Hers, Sir. Not Blue Cross's and Blue Shield's, even if they do insure 75 percent of the state and they own you."
    And here's what Keith has to say about Senator Thune:

    "Senator John Thune of South Dakota? You gave the Republican rebuttal to the President's weekly address day before yesterday. You said the Democrats' plan was for '... government run health care that would disrupt our current system, and force millions of Americans who currently enjoy their employer-based coverage into a new health care plan run by government bureaucrats.'

    "That's a bald-faced lie, Senator. And you're a bald-faced liar, whose bald face is covered by... your own health care plan run by government bureaucrats."
    Don't miss his show, live at 8pm ET. Rebroadcast at 10pm and 1am.

    "There's no reason to say I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator." Birther Biller, Rep. Bill Posey

    by marabout40 on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:29:16 PM PDT

  •  Do we get to play the "how many" game now? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, Timbuk3, mcmom, beltane

    How many physicalls would $140 million pay for?

    How many vaccinations?  How many rounds of antibiotics for common infections?  How many Mamograms and Pap smears?  How many blood tests? How many Xrays?  how many CAT Scans?  how many months of High Blood Pressure or Cholesterol medication?  How many insulin shots?  

    How many people would have the quality of THEIR lives greatly improved for $140 million?  

    How many will have the quality of their life worsened if Health Care reform is allowed to fail?

    I don't understand how anyone can look at the situation, and look at the numbers and just sit back and watch this country backslide for the sake of an industry who has no responsibility for making anyone healthier.  For an industry that has ceded its responsibility to no one, and will not allow anyone else (much less the government) to pick it up.  For an industry who makes more money watching people die, then giving people what they need to live.

    How can this be?  

    At long last, have they no shame?

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:32:54 PM PDT

  •  what can we really afford? (5+ / 0-)

    $173billion for ordinary people

    or $900billion for banks and other big corpos...

    You decide.

    socialism for ordinary people, or for the rich?

  •  Love the ad! (3+ / 0-)

    The amount the health care industry is spending to defeat reform needs to be pounded into the public discourse at every possible opportunity.

    I suggest, perhaps, leaving  party ID out of it:  Just pummel the insurance companies and other players relentlessly.  Leave the NoNos some room to wriggle over to the other side by making the business the villain.

    I don't know anyone who likes insurance companies, unless they work for one, and sometimes even not then.

  •  Here's what I don't get (7+ / 0-)

    Why doesn't everyone just admit that this is a war between people who want decent health care and insurance companies? Between doctors and insurance companies? Between the American people and insurance companies?

    The insurance companies know this is a war, designed to deprive them of further ill-gotten gains.

    Why can't we be honest about it?

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:36:48 PM PDT

  •  Worst of all (4+ / 0-)

    is that we are the ones forced to pay for this. What monsters these people are; they'd shoot us in the head and send us a bill for the bullet.

    The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

    by beltane on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:41:20 PM PDT

  •  Well now, that video sounds like class warfare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcmom

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:47:32 PM PDT

  •  Private Healthcare...The Screw Deal (3+ / 0-)

    What useful purpose does a "service" that costs 10% more each year and pays for less each year serve? How is it a benefit to you ? Are you better off than you were a year ago? Four years? Eight years? Paying for nothing?

    The only useful service is for them to use your money, $173 million and counting, against your best interest. You get to pay them to buy off government.

    Jam that back in their face when confronting reactionaries and insurance company apologists who want to turn the clock back to the McKinley era.

    Use the meme: You pay more and more for less and less, and they use the money to screw you.

    "There's a bailout coming, but it's not for me, it's for all the creeps watching the ticker on TV"-Neil Young

    by NoMoreLies on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 04:49:04 PM PDT

  •  MSNBC's evening news programs are (3+ / 0-)

    extremely provocative tonight. Lawrence O'Donnell on the Ed Show, Chris Matthews, its only half way though an i need to get on with my evening.

    Basically tonight they have a co-ordinated message.  Democrats are losing the health care debate. Why?  because they are not turning out FOR health care reform, they are being beaten hands down by those who are turning out AGAINST reform.  Democrats are all over the goddamn map, while the wingnuts are locked on target.

    Why? because inevitably when push comes to shove, Democrats would rather fight Democrats than fight the opposition.

    I find that true and provocative and i'm turning off the blogs for tonight. I'll think abouti it the morning when I have digested what those who are not singing to each other are saying.

    Good luck guys.

  •  progressive, just FYI (6+ / 0-)

    this commercial sucks and misses the point entirely.

    i wish some of the advocacy groups would get outside of their own progressive bubbles and understand what real people are pissed/worried,concerned about.

    while i understand that huge CEO salaries is a factor when that money should be going toward provide coverage to people who PAID FOR IT, the commercial sounds whiny and generally resentful of anyone who makes lots of money. its a waste that they spent money to produce it and air it.

    let's stick with the real kitchen table issues because it's simple as hell and voters are VERY CLEAR about what their fears are, even those who say they are happy with their insurance:

    1. what will you do if you lose your job and insurance? if you are of a certain age or have even a simple health condition like asthma, you probably wont be able to get private insurance. What will you do?
    1. With businesses cutting back in the recession just to survive, and with insurance rates going up every year, do you think they might consider dropping your insurance coverage to improve their bottom line and weather the recession?
    1. if you have your own insurance, how much have your rates gone up in the last 5 years? What about in the next 5 years? And what do you think might happen if you got cancer or some other expensive illness?
    1. talk about why this is NOT a canadian system or a UK system where everyone is covered because everyone pays a tax. The American system will be a public option -- just a non-profit version of the existing system. People will pay small premiums for coverage IF THEY CHOOSE TO enroll. It being non-profit means it will be cheaper and because its less expensive, it will have large numbers of enrollees, further driving down prices for things like prescriptions.  To compete, private insurance will likely also lower their premium as well as try to duplicate some of the key benefits of the public plan like no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, portability from job to job, and caps on yearly and lifetime out of pocket expenses. So you stand to benefit even if you choose NOT to enroll in the public plan.

    THESE are the things I talk about when canvassing and phonebanking. People GET it and it means something to them.

    This seething "we hate corporate CEOs" bullshit is stupid, counterproductive and does NOTHING to further the debate in our favor. Come on activists, get OUT of the think tank and INTO the neighborhood. Sheesh.

  •  Protesters Disrupt Doggett's Town Hall in Austin (2+ / 0-)

    TheAustin Statesman has a story about protesters disrupting Rep. Lloyd Doggett's Town Hall in South Austin Saturday. They shouted " Read the bill" and then followed him out and chanted " Just Say No". At least some of them seemed to have come from outside Austin. It's doubtful that real South Austin residents ( including two of my daughters)  oppose heathcare reformI saw a comment on the Statesman's blog in which a woman said that she had attended the Austin Town Hall, and later attended the one in her home town of Bastrop, which is about an hour's drive away. .

    Find out if your congress critter is having a Town Hall, and make plans to attend. The Freedom Works protesters will be there trying to give the impression that Americans oppose a government option.

    Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

    by loblolly on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 05:07:31 PM PDT

    •  I swear I think this "read the bill" crap (0+ / 0-)

      must be a result of the bogus info I posted below.  I know dimwits will be sucking it up like vacuum cleaners...
      And since we're on this...is there "a" bill in final form?  I don't think so.

  •  CBS and NBC noted the protests (2+ / 0-)

    but did mention that they were organized from the right (my word), AKA Republicans and insurance companies.

    I think, therefore I am. I think.

    by mcmom on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 05:07:43 PM PDT

  •  I just got a dung pile in my mailbox (0+ / 0-)

    that I can't link to and it's too long to post.  It's supposedly an analysis of "obamacare" and it's "requirments" with lots and lots of page #'s.  No ref to which bill, of course.  
    It originates from Mays, Lowell LHM and flails around all sorts of nonsense. (Google that name and Obamacare and the manure will appear.) If I got it, so did millions of others who are reading (and believing) it now.

    •  Spawn of Freeperville.... nt (0+ / 0-)

      Just to clear the decks. I own no monkeys.

      by Misterpuff on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 05:42:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a portion for your viewing horror (0+ / 0-)

      Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed.

      . Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits

      you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
      . Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits
      for you. You will have no choice. None.

      . Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free
      healthcare services.

      . Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.

      . Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to
      all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer. (!!!!!)

      . Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community
      organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)

    •  Blog post addressing that e-mail (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day, Tropical Depression

      8/29 changed everything Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -6.13 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.10

      by wsexson on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 07:18:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not a good ad- Where are?? (5+ / 0-)

    Where are the ads showing poor White people standing in Horse Stalls getting free health care??  

    I'm very serious.  You don't see any minorities at these Birther/Healthcare/Teabagging protests.  

    If these folks see people that look like them they might wake up and stop saying the poor "black" "brown" person is going to get free healthcare

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