I was at a town hall last night making these same points (and explaining what HCAN is) to the people who came out to hear about health care issues in my county. I've been doing that as much as I can because even though there's no reform legislation yet, you can bet that the Association of Health Insurance Providers aren't waiting around to see what happens on Capitol Hill. They're meeting with Ted Kennedy now. Think Progess' Igor Volsky argues that that's a good thing:
I’d make the case that you can negotiate with the moneyed interests and then use the Presidential bully pulpit to ask for more. So for instance, while the insurance industry would offer everyone insurance if the government mandated coverage, it opposes allowing a new public plan to compete with private insurers and doesn’t want to charge everyone the same price for insurance (community rating).
But negotiations have this way of moving people (hopefully in the right direction). As Families USA’s Ron Pollack recently revealed, the insurance industry is now close to accepting community rating; a public plan, however, is unlikely to win any insurance industry converts.
It’s a give and take, but what’s the alternative? This way, you take what compromises you can get and if you’re still not happy with that consensus, take your case to the American people and convince them of your policy. Ignoring the stakeholders and ramming your plans down their throats is no way to achieve change. We saw that movie in 1993. It didn’t end well.
Okay. I'll buy that. But I want it stipulated that Americans don't need to be convinced to support a public health insurance plan in the reform. They want it. They love it. What they need to be convinced of is AHIP's propaganda. Lucky for AHIP, they have oceans full of money and links to power people to get that job done. We have HCAN and whatever energy you and your friends can put into learning about the issue and getting that information into the hands of your friends so that they can put real pressure on their members of Congress to do the right thing.