The Healthcare Industry & Health Reform: No News Here, Film at 11

Some in the news media are simply determined to portray the healthcare industry, or at least individual sectors of it, as strident opponents of health reform, no matter how strongly the facts state otherwise.

A recent example came earlier this month when CIGNA CEO David Cordani spoke at a Reuters health conference and said that he did not think it was in “society’s best interest to expend energy on repealing the (health reform) law.”  That led to a series of articles expressing various degrees of surprise that health insurers weren’t actively trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

It would be nice to get this straight, once and for all.  No sector of the healthcare industry – and I feel safe in making this assertion since the membership of the Healthcare Leadership Council includes companies from virtually every sector – has stood against comprehensive improvement of the U.S. healthcare system or against making certain every American has access to affordable health coverage. 

Too often, news reports wrongly describe disagreements about aspects of the new health reform law as outright opposition.  We don’t agree, for example, that expanding Medicaid is the best means for reducing the uninsured population, and we have concerns about the impact of the forthcoming Independent Payment Advisory Board.  But neither the HLC nor any other major healthcare association has asserted that the status quo should be preserved.

In fact, it’s often forgotten that leaders from the health insurance industry were calling for reform and a fully-insured American even before President Obama moved into the White House.

To this day, health industry leaders are working to improve the reform law, at the risk of having these actions described as trying to oppose it, repeal it, or undermine it.  In actuality, we have deep concerns over any steps that would repeal mechanisms to have more people acquire health insurance, while keeping intact the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance system reforms.  That would cause extreme market instability and harmful price increases.

So, next time a health industry leader gives a speech in which they say they’re not in favor of repealing the health reform law, let’s not treat it as a man-bites-dog story, ok?