From Harry and Louise to Thelma and Louise

AHIP – did they jump or were they pushed?
I’m not pointing any fingers, but if I were, all ten would be pointed right at Bob Laszewski.
Yesterday Bob pointed out that AHIP could not possibly have screwed up any more than it did when it released the PwC ‘analysis’ of the Senate Finance Committee reform bill. Here’s how Bob put it.

When you are going to issue a report of the kind AHIP and PwC did–in terms of its intended consequences on a national political debate–you better be sure you can back-up everything you say in simple and unambiguous terms.
The ineptitude on the part of AHIP and PwC is startling. That either organization was not able to clearly and decisively defend their conclusion in the midst of the health care reform finals is one thing. That they couldn’t defend a conclusion that is generally right and consistent with common sense [emphasis added] is even more startling if not aggravating.
But then AHIP starts from way behind anytime it has tried to do anything in this town… there was the Congressional hearing this summer where three of their members told a House committee that they planned to continue retroactively canceling individual health insurance contracts even when they found only inadvertent and immaterial errors on the original applications.
Then, of course, there was the silly $2 trillion cost savings offer they spearheaded at the White House this spring, which Republican Chuck Grassley dismissed as nothing more than “fairy dust.”
When you have that kind of track record and lack of credibility and you want to issue a game-changing report you better have every duck in line. I swear, if AHIP issued a press release on a crystal clear day telling DC the sun was shining no one would believe them [emphasis added].

But you can’t blame Karen Ignani alone – her board, which includes CEOs of pretty much all the big and most of the medium-sized health plans, obviously played a big role in developing AHIP’s ‘strategy’, such as it is. There are some really bright and capable folks on that board, many of whom are likely stunned at the blindingly inept way AHIP tried to make their point – a point that I absolutely agree is entirely valid, and for which there is ample historical support.
Alas, the correctness of their opinion has been overwhelmed by the way it was ‘presented’ – a bucket of cold slops dumped over the heads of the Democrats who were (at the time) warming to the idea of sending forty million more paying customers their way.
Unless…unless Karen Ignani is a secret single payer zealot, the only explanation is they just woefully miscalculated – or the accelerator got stuck…
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(much as I’d like to take credit for the Harry and Louise to Thelma and Louise, I stole it from someone on the toob)