After the Senate Finance Committee passed Chairman Max Baucus's health reform plan on a 14-9 vote, America's Health Insurance Plans--hot off the controversy of the report it commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers--insisted that it does support comprehensive health care reform...just not the Finance Committee's plan.
AHIP's stance all along has been to support the ideals of reform publicly, even as the White House and liberal action groups attacked it. But after the study it released yesterday, which suggested Baucus's plan would raise costs over the long term, many observers suggested the gloves had been taken off.
Here's AHIP's full statement from AHIP CEO Karen Ignani on the Finance Committee vote:
We strongly support comprehensive, bipartisan health care reform that covers all Americans, improves quality, and puts the health care system on an affordable, sustainable path. Health plans have proposed guaranteed coverage, elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions, and no longer basing premiums on health status or gender. Experience in the states has shown that market reforms need to paired with universal coverage to make health care as affordable as possible.
While we agree with the objective of the current proposal, we are concerned about its workability and cost. The bill imposes hundreds of billions of dollars in new health care taxes and provides an incentive for people to wait until they are sick to purchase coverage. A recent analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that these provisions will cause health care costs to increase far faster and higher than they would under the current system. We believe these issues can and should be addressed.
Health plans will continue to work towards comprehensive, bipartisan health care reform that covers all Americans, improves quality, and makes coverage more affordable.