Although Congress is in recess, the moment of truth for health care reform may well be at hand.

“The country is at a critical juncture,” Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said at a teleconference. “August will be the month when the country decides whether it supports reform and what shape it should take.”
Ignagni also sought to refute the charge that health insurers are the villains of the debate.

“At this point in the summer of 2009, the country should be in the midst of a transformative national conversation about health care reform,” she said.  “Instead, a campaign has been launched to demonize health plans and the men and women who work hard every day in their communities to provide health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans. Attacking our community will not help get anyone covered, nor will it help our country bend the cost curve and make care more affordable for working families and small businesses.”  

Ignagni urged a bipartisan effort for reform, but struck out at plans for including a government option for reform.

“For months, we have explained why we believe a government-run plan would dismantle employer-based coverage, bankrupt local hospitals, and break the promise that if you like your present coverage, you can keep it,” she said. “A government-run plan would inevitably rely on its price-setting ability to offer artificially low premiums—effectively subsidized by the private sector through cost shifting.  This would force employers to drop their coverage, creating a death spiral for private insurance and financial catastrophe for many hospitals and doctors.”

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