No one could have imagined

NO ONE COULD HAVE IMAGINED…. A major insurance company, trying to undermine health care reform efforts? You don’t say.

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.

I’d just add, though, that the larger effort is sticking closely to the script put together by their Republican consultant, Frank Luntz, with the same deceptive arguments about rationing and long-wait times. (Have I mentioned lately that the status quo already includes rationing and long-wait times?)

Lee Fang added, “Luntz, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and groups like Conservatives for Patients’ Rights are all attacking a public health care option with the debunked notion of “rationed care.” But of course, Obama’s health care plan option is just that, optional. If Americans prefer having insurance companies determine their treatments and costs, no one is forcing them to change. Opponents of reform would prefer to have a monopoly over health care, because the status quo is still quite profitable.”

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