AHIP plays make-believe

AHIP PLAYS MAKE-BELIEVE…. America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, hasn’t exactly been a constructive player on health care reform lately. After fighting all summer against the public option, last week, the insurance lobby published a deceptive report on health care premiums. Soon after, insurers launched a new round of attack ads. This week, a top AHIP lobbyist described pro-reform Democrats as “the enemy” and insisted that congressional Republicans vote in lock-step against the final bill.

And so it was a little comical yesterday when AHIP president Karen Ignagni characterized the insurers’ group as a friend of health care reform.

Speaking beneath the twinkling crystal chandeliers of the Capitol Hilton ballroom [Thursday] morning, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) president Karen Ignagni declared that the insurance industry is still on board with the Democratic health care reform effort, pushing back against the presumption that the two sides have declared war. “Our community was one of the first to position ourselves very actively to a massive overhaul of the insurance market,” Ignagni told the audience members, who were attending the organization’s conference on state insurance issues. She added that AHIP is still pushing for “a massive restructuring of how markets work and a massive change in the way the administrative process works” within insurance companies.

Altogether, Ignagni was trying to present the insurance industry as one of the major visionaries behind health care reform — not one of its obstructionists.

Isn’t it a little late in the game for AHIP to pretend it’s ready to work in good faith with Democrats on a comprehensive reform bill? Who’s going to buy this?