While trial lawyers and, ahem, the media, have long labored in the pit of public opinion, it seems health insurers have now joined us in the "Axis of Ill Repute." Welcome.

Though long in the making, the official induction to our not-so-merry club may have came as soon as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly labeled private insurers "villains" for working to defeat a public option for health insurance. This newfound scorn is not so surprising; indeed, the large, amorphous nature of the health insurance industry seems to provide a ready-made canvas on which politicians can project blame. Quite naturally, health insurers have taken umbrage at this vilification. "Health care reform is far too important to be dragged down by divisive political rhetoric from Washington, D.C.," says America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) spokesman Robert Zirkelbach.

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