That’s the upshot of Bill Lambrecht’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on Blunt’s role in shaping GOP “policy” on health care reform. (I’m not sure you can call it “policy” when you can only produce a slim four page brochure chock full of slogans and devoid of numbers.)
Voters fed up with insurance companies’ red tape and denials of claims seem to favor a public option: 70 percent or more endorse the government’s entry into the health care competition, recent polls show.
But Blunt has been unstinting in denouncing a public option. He uses the phrase “government-run” to describe a shift that he sees as dangerous both to the health care system and to its clients.
“If there’s a government competitor, in the very short term, you wind up with no competitors,” he said in an interview. “When voters begin to understand that the government takeover of health care is really the end result of a government competitor in the marketplace, they’re not going to like that.”
Um, Roy, you might want to take a look at the level of competition among health insurance companies in Missouri. In your own district, 94% of Joplin’s citizens are insured by a single insurance company.
In any case, the article cites polling that shows an overwhelming majority of Americans as supportive of a public option, which Blunt opposes. Guess who also opposes the public option?
Not surprisingly, insurance companies are fighting to squelch a public option. Echoing Blunt, Robert Zirkelbach, director of strategic communications for America’s Health Insurance Plans – which represents virtually all of the nation’s health insurers – said government involvement would “dismantle” the current system and destroy corporate innovations that aid consumers.
“He (Blunt) is certainly very thoughtful on health care issues, and I think he showed that by the proposal they put forth,” Zirkelbach said.
Yup. Health insurance companies are ready to stand side by side with Roy Blunt in the battle against the public option and preserve a broken system of rapidly rising premiums and insurance company profiteering.
Yet another reason to contact Sens. Bond and McCaskill right now to ask for a strong and specific stance in favor of the public option. Pressure on McCaskill and Bond is necessary to make sure we have a strong public option and viable health care reform, which is anathema to Blunt and insurance executives.