Political Correction

Private Insurance Companies Have Been Funding The Chamber's Anti-Reform Campaign

January 13, 2010 11:42 am ET - by Melinda Warner

While not surprising, the confirmation that several private health insurance firms have been providing money for the Chamber of Commerce to fight health care reform is disturbing. 

According to the National Journal, AHIP reportedly sent money to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of producing and airing anti-health care reform ads.  "That money, between $10 million and $20 million, came from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Wellpoint, according to two health care lobbyists familiar with the transactions. The companies are all members of the powerful trade group America's Health Insurance Plans...Each insurer kicked in at least $1 million and some gave multimillion-dollar donations."

The Chamber's most recent onslaught of ads has hit Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Virginia.

These few insurance companies hold either the largest or second largest share of the insurance market in many of these states, and in two states, they hold both:

Arkansas: UnitedHealth, 18%
WellPoint, 58%
UnitedHealth, 25%
WellPoint, 71%; Aetna, 12%
UnitedHealth, 29%
WellPoint, 50%; Aetna, 10%

Not to mention the other states who have had to endure rounds of misleading advertising from the Chamber:

As this chart shows, many of the citizens in these states have little choice other than to purchase health insurance through one of the companies who has been actively fighting to maintain the status quo.

Clearly, these private insurance companies - determined to keep the American public under their thumbs - have paid the Chamber of Commerce to air anti-health care reform ads in an attempt to kill the very legislation that will allow Americans to access quality, affordable health care.

This kind of behavior is exactly why progressives have been so dedicated to reforming the American health care system.  The insuance industry is more interested in protecting their bottom line than providing their paying customers with the services they've paid for.  The American people deserve better.

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