Boston Globe (take 2):
Health Care for America Now, a coalition of mostly left-leaning organizations, including the liberal group MoveOn, immediately issued a statement criticizing the insurers, saying their plan would still allow insurance companies to charge older and sicker people huge premiums and would do nothing to cap CEO salaries.
“We call on Congress to join with President-elect Obama to enact health care reform in 2009 which puts the health of our families before the profits of the insurance industry,” the coalition’s director, Richard Kirsch, said in a statement.
Bloomberg (no link):
Industry opponents attacked the initiative as a self-serving “bailout” to protect company profits and autonomy. The proposal doesn’t involve fundamental changes in the way insurers operate and asks the government to pick up more costs, said Richard Kirsch, the national campaign manager for Health Care Now, a coalition of labor unions and activist groups.
“This plan lets them continue to profit on people when they’re healthy and, when people get sick and have high health costs, to push as much of those costs as possible onto the taxpayer,” Kirsch said in a phone interview today.
But Health Care for America Now said the insurance industry’s proposal doesn’t make insurance more affordable. For instance, it doesn’t prevent companies from charging sick and elderly beneficiaries more.
“What they’re trying to do politically is to get ahead of health care reform and shape health care reform in such a way to protect their bottom line as opposed to actually fixing the problems in the health care system,” said the group’s national campaign manager, Richard Kirsch.
He criticized the industry’s plan to prevent medical bankruptcy by providing tax credits to low-income families that would cap total health care expenses instead of offering more affordable plans – a move that Kirsch put this way: “We’ll continue to let you go bankrupt, and we’ll have the government bail you out.”
Several consumer groups sharply attacked the insurance group’s plan on Wednesday.
“The health insurance industry’s vision of healthcare reform lets them keep charging whatever they want and increase their profits while sticking families and taxpayers with high costs,” said Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now.