Ambers has a great report on the Democratic strategy to start demonizing insurance companies in order to energize their base for the big health-care fight in September:
The industry is easy to demonize. Most insurers are motivated by profit, which they accrue by making decisions about who and what to cover. Their incentive is to try and deny as much coverage as possible without risking a wholesale hemorrhage of companies who purchase their coverage. [...] That said, there are good insurance companies and bad ones. Some companies do great work with certain diseases, like cancer, and drop the ball with, say, preventative medicine.
The industry concluded that reform was inevitable. In order to save their industry, they decided to partner with the White House from day one. They've accommodated the demands of Democrats to scrap discriminatory policies against people with pre-existing conditions, have agreed to various premium caps, have agreed to accept various different types of basic coverage plans.
In exchange, the industry gets to exist; it gets millions of more Americans with a mandate to buy coverage; it gets some flexibility in terms of risk pools; it doesn't accept onerous restrictions on its profit-to-loss ratios. So far, the White House hasn't gotten any votes out of this arrangement, but they've gotten the industry to hold its fire.
No longer. By creating an enemy out of the insurance industry, the White House is risking a real turn-about. The hedge is that there's no way, having invested so much in crafting a pro-reform image, the insurers will begin to oppose it. On the other hand, if the industry did suddenly decide that the reform project ought to be killed, the White House would have a real enemy -- and would be able to frame the debate much more clearly as a choice between progress and obstruction.
Marc later interviews Karen Ignagni, the president of the America' Health Insurance Plans, asking what she will do now as "the enemy."
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