At a recent health care forum attended by Democratic presidential candidates, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton observed, "The insurance companies make money by spending a lot of money employing a lot of people to try to avoid insuring you, and then if you're insured, to try to avoid paying for the health care you received... ." (Newsday 4/14/07)
I'm sorry to hear her say that.
Health care is one of those things where it might be good to remember that no one is in the position to throw the first stone. You can come up with a pretty long list of health care actions it's hard to defend the insurance industry on. The list is about as long for hospitals, drug companies, doctors, lawyers, and all the rest--and includes U.S. Senators on both sides of the isle.
In 1993, when Senator Clinton launched her failed health reform plan, she made a point of declaring the insurance industry enemy number one. Instead of trying to bring the insurers into her tent, she pointedly excluded them and tried to create political leverage by making them the bad guys in the debate.
Insurers, seeing no chance to play on the inside, concluded they might as well dig in and fight in what came to look like a fight for survival. The result was those now famous insurance industry financed "Harry and Louise" ads that are credited with making a major difference in turning the tide against Mrs. Clinton and her health plan.
Hillary Clinton could be the next president. If she is, health care will certainly be at the top of her list.
Will Hillary Clinton make the same mistake by isolating and demonizing the health insurance industry once again?
I hope not.
For health care reform to work we will need to get all the of stakeholders to the table.
The major stakeholders, like the health insurance industry, already have enough selfish reason to undermine fundamental reform without being forced into another counterproductive corner.
Come on Hillary!
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