Tuesday, October 13, 2009


From Digby here.

AHIP has excellent timing. Releasing their "report" on the eve of the Senate Finance Committee's vote on the Baucus bill had a real boomerang effect. It made the argument for the public option, as Rep. Anthony Weiner effectively argued.

Now Americans United for Change is seizing the moment with this ad, pointing out that there are only two industries exempt from anti-trust laws: baseball and insurance.
How are professional baseball and insurance companies alike? Baseball and insurance are the only industries exempt from anti-trust laws.

How are they different? Insurance industry executives are scared of competition. Baseball players aren’t.

When baseball players fix the games, they get in trouble. When health insurance executives fix the game, they get ... rich.

Time for competition when it comes to health insurance... we need the choice of a public health insurance plan.
And the last I heard, nobody died from not being allowed to go to a baseball game. I can't think of a single reason why the insurers should keep their anti-trust exemption. In fact, it seems absurd that they had one in the first place.

While it certainly would seem to make the argument for a public option much more obvious, if this move allows the Baucus plan to become the "liberal bill" I'm not so sure it was such a bad play on the part of the insurers in the long run. We'll have to see.

Only in America could a group of corporations get away with holding a gun to the government's head and basically saying that any plan to regulate them will result in them raising prices so high their own customers won't be able to afford to buy their product anymore. The fact that their "product" is the difference between life and death isn't even mentioned.

And only in America would this threat be presented to the public as a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

The pharmaceutical companies are just as bad, especially when it comes to the pricing of life-saving drugs and especially considering that the U.S. government (through the NIH) funds so much of the research and development for them. We pay for them twice, and at what a price!

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