Health Insurers Take the Gloves Off

Trade group goes public with criticism of health bill

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    Sen. Baucus' committee votes on health legislation on Tuesday. In a shift, insurers have gone public with their criticisms.

    The Health Insurance lobby launched a surgical strike against Democrats’ best hope for passing health reform on Sunday, saying the “Baucus” bill would likely drive up the cost of care for families and businesses, according to reports.

    America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group, ended its behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to charge in interviews that costs are set to rise by $1,700 a year for families by 2013. Citing an insurance-funded study by accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, lobbyist Karen Ignagni listed several reasons private insurers would likely pass on costs to consumers. One top reason: Not enough healthy people would likely sign up for insurance to offset the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions.

    A spokesman for Sen. Max Baucus called the study “seriously flawed” because it did not factor in savings from tax credits and other features in legislation now pending in the Senate Finance Committee. "It's a health insurance company hatchet job, plain and simple," Scott Mulhauser said of the study, The Associated Press reported.

    Baucus' $829 billion bill most closely follows President Obama’s prescription for health reform. It faces a final vote in committee on Tuesday.

    Get more: MSNBC, New York Times