Insurers Balk at Directives Under ‘Obamacare’

Although they initially at least paid lip service to President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system, insurers have now thrown their efforts behind Republican attempts to repeal the law that requires every American to purchase health insurance by 2014, reports the Chicago Tribune. See, “Insurance Firms Infuse GOP With Big Doses of Cash.” Or at least those portions of the law they don’t like. They tend to like the idea of requiring every American to buy insurance, but not like the parts where their conduct is regulated so as not to spin out of control.

The Tribune writes that this year the nation’s five largest insurers and the industry’s lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, have poured three times more money to Republican lawmakers and political action committees than they gave to Democrats. In 2009, donations were almost evenly split between the two parties. And the largest insurers also are paying hundreds of thousands to lobbyists with ties to Republican lawmakers who could be shaping health policy.

Typically, the industry supported the law when it believed mandated coverage would increase profits. But now that the final legislation requires insurers cover sick children, quit denying benefits when policyholders actually need them, and eliminate lifetime benefit caps, the industry complains providing such coverage is just too expensive. Instead, according to the Tribune, they are betting a Republican-controlled Congress will return to an era of tax-payer funded government subsidies to insurers through Medicare Advantage Plans and cost-shifting to consumers.

“We generally support candidates whose views align with our business and health care interests,” Aetna spokeswoman Anjie Coplin told the Tribune.

Too bad those same interests don’t appear to align with the interests of the people concerned, namely, all of us consumers.

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