Robert Pear brings us the latest grotesque scene from the health care battle:
Under pressure from the White House, health insurance companies said Tuesday that they would comply with rules to be issued soon by the Obama administration requiring them to cover children with pre-existing medical problems.
“Health plans recognize the significant hardship that a family faces when they are unable to obtain coverage for a child with a pre-existing condition,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. Accordingly, she said, “we await and will fully comply with” the rules.
Ms. Ignagni made the commitment in a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, who had said she feared that some insurers might exploit a possible ambiguity in the new health care law to deny coverage to some sick children.
So, a memo to Ms. Ignagni:
To: Karen M. Ignagni (AHIP)
Date: March 30, 2010
Subject: Spare us, please
I read today in The New York Times your explanation that, “Health plans recognize the significant hardship that a family faces when they are unable to obtain coverage for a child with a pre-existing condition.” Indeed, Robert Pear’s article for the NYT also informs that AHIP “await[s] and will fully comply” with the new health care regulations passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.
I would like to ask that you please do all Americans a favor and simply fuck off. I’m sorry if that sounds impolite, but that’s the way it goes. Health insurance providers have had years, even decades, to “recognize the significant hardship that a family faces when they are unable to obtain coverage for a child with a pre-existing condition”. So what I cannot figure out, though I might as well simply flip a coin, is whether it required the force of Congress to get health insurance providers to see what was so apparent to so many people, or simply to admit it. Either case is unacceptable.
Anyone who is familiar with the idea of marketing, or has listened to a political or corporate spokesman plead a case before the public, or even read a simple press release, is familiar with the perpetual advertising campaign that is corporate public relations. It is too much to ask that people in your position simply acknowledge reality; apparently, we are expected to feel somehow grateful or otherwise appreciative whenever someone in your position tries to sell lemonade and tell us it isn’t what it smells like.
As a parent, I am very much familiar with the need to occasionally drag a child, kicking and screaming, to the bathtub, or to their bedroom, or to their desk to do homework. However, neither you, your organization, nor the health insurance executives who subscribe to AHIP are children. You are adults, and one thing I remember from my years of growing up is that there comes a time when you are expected to act like it.
And, indeed, when you willingly represent the sort of ill-mannered scoundrels who are health insurance executives, there are some times when political platitudes are clearly seen for what they are: trite, useless rituals of formality offered up by soulless, greedy people who serve no useful purpose in society. If that is somehow unclear to you, allow me to simplify: You are welcome to be too stupid to read the forty-foot flaming letters written on the wall, but don’t try to fool us into believing otherwise. The companies you represent have spent much time and effort running a confidence swindle. Even a modicum of restraint might have forestalled the onset of health care reform in the United States of America, but that was apparently too much to ask of AHIP and its nearly 1,300 member companies.
So, please, spare us. If all AHIP can do is lie to our faces, the best thing for someone in your position to do is simply shut up and fuck off. You represent an industry sector that has fought for years to bleed Americans dry, and quite clearly, people are quite exhausted with the foetid lies and excuses health insurers have sprayed all over the walls from sea to shining sea.
You tell us you recognize the significant hardships caused by AHIP’s member companies, and when the only question is whether you’re lying, or simply don’t care about those hardships, you should not expect people to be impressed by your latest hack spin.
So just can it. Save yourself the time and embarrassment, and spare us the queasy feeling that comes every time we hear another fork-tongued flak like yourself shoveling platitudes of excrement.
And for the love of all that is good and decent in this world, please, just fuck off.