Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Health Care Battle Heats Up

While I am waiting to put my second batch of bread into the oven I thought I would step into the health care debate one more time. With a hat tip to Steve Bennen it is pretty obvious that the anti health care folks are following the Frank Luntz playbook in their campaign to undermine the Obama effort to level the playing field and make affordable health care a reality in America.

Now Blue Cross Blue Shield is trying to undermine health care reform efforts? Not a surpise!

One week after the nation's health insurance lobby pledged to President Obama to do what it can to constrain rising health costs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is putting the finishing touches on a public message campaign aimed at killing a key plank in Obama's reform platform.

As part of what it calls an "informational website," the company has hired an outside PR company to make a series of videos sounding the alarm about a government-sponsored health insurance option, known as the public plan. Obama has consistently maintained that a government-run plan, absent high-paid executives and the need for profits, could be a more affordable option for Americans who have trouble purchasing private insurance. The industry argues that creating a public insurance program will undermine the marketplace and eventually lead to a single-payer style system.

In three 30-second videos, the insurer paints a picture of a future system in which patients wait months for appointments and can't choose their own doctors, according to storyboards of the videos obtained by the Washington Post.

The Media Matters Action Network put together a very thorough take-down of the BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina's "desperate attempt to deceive," with plenty of details about the company's background, and why the company's anti-reform ads are wrong.

Just to remind everyone of the truth MoveOn.org has put together a list of the realities for you to keep in mind when you hear the spin coming from the GOP and insurance companies. Every time you hear some idiot spouting the propaganda and outright lies about President Obama's health insurance options you can use these 5 truths to rebut them.


1. Choice, choice, choice. If the public health insurance option passes, Americans will be able to choose between their current insurance and a high-quality, government-run plan similar to Medicare. If you like your current care, you can keep it. If you don't—or don't have any—you can get the public insurance plan.

2. It will be high-quality coverage with a choice of doctors. Government-run plans have a track record of innovating to improve quality, because they're not just focused on short-term profits. And if you choose the public plan, you'll still get to choose your doctor and hospital.

3. We'll all save a bunch of money. The public health insurance option won't have to spend money on things like CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, or excessive advertising, so it'll cost a lot less. Plus, the private plans will have to lower their rates and provide better value to compete, so people who keep their current insurance will save, too.

4. It will always be there for you and your family. A for-profit insurer can close, move out of the area, or just kick you off their insurance rolls. The public health insurance option will always be available to provide you with the health security you need.

5. And it's a key part of universal health care. No longer will sick people or folks in rural communities, or low-income Americans be forced to go without coverage. The public health insurance plan will be available and accessible to everyone. And for those struggling to make ends meet, the premiums will be subsidized by the government.

This is going to be an ugly fight and there are buckets of money ready to be thrown at it by the insurance industry. Remember that they have been riding a gravy train for years and years and it just keeps getting better and better for them. They have everything to lose if we Americans have an affordable health care option. Our Congress critters have been living pretty high off the hog as well with all the cash the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries have been stuffing into their pockets over the years. If you've a mind you might even consider giving your Congress critters a call or drop them a note asking them which they care about more: the health and well being of ALL Americans or the money coming from the health insurance folks.

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