Industries turn back on health reform

John Dimsdale Feb 22, 2010
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Industries turn back on health reform

John Dimsdale Feb 22, 2010
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Kai Ryssdal: So, insurance companies aren’t wild about the Feds regulating health care premiums. Drug companies don’t like the president’s plans for a $10 billion fee on brand name drugs. Nothing surprising there. Except for the fact that health insurers and pharmaceutical companies were early supporters of the administration’s health reform plans.

Our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale has more now on how things have changed.


JOHN DIMSDALE: At the beginning of the health care debate, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, doctors, and hospitals signed on to reforms. But the president of the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignagni, says things changed last summer.

KAREN IGNAGNI: It’s all politics. It began in July with the shift from a discussion of health reform to insurance reform. Presumably because the polling suggested that was the right route, but it’s certainly not going to get the country to where it needs to go.

She says the country needs across-the-board reductions in health care costs from everyone.

Ron Pollack, with Families USA, a consumer health advocate, says the entire industry should recognize they’ll benefit from reform.

RON POLLACK: Each of the providers of care will get a very significant improvement in terms of their own narrow interest if health reform passes. Because they will have much greater volume of services as new people gain coverage and others are protected from losing coverage.

All companies likes to be on a winning team, says health policy professor Leighton Ku at George Washington University.

LEIGHTON KU: So they figured that they might as well be in favor of the legislation and try to steer it somewhat in a direction that was helpful to them, or at least less hurtful.

Now, Professor Ku says, some industries aren’t so sure that health reform is inevitable. And that’s why they’re backing away.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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