Facebooking the Truth

Chris used my favorite quote yet:

When it comes to health care reform, there has been a rift on the left between the single-payer and public-private advocates, so last week offered a rare opportunity to see both sides coming together in common cause: to bash insurance companies.

The two sides teamed up to protest a policy forum at a Washington Ritz-Carlton sponsored by America’s Health Insurance Plans, a national association representing more than 1,300 companies that provide health insurance.

But don’t expect a marriage anytime soon between the single-payer groups, which believe reforms short of abolishing health insurance companies will fail, and public-private supporters, which are pushing for tighter controls on insurance companies and the creation of a public insurance plan option.

“I’d say it was a concurrent event. It doesn’t mean there was any kind of merger there,” said single-payer advocate Chuck Idelson, spokesman for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, the nation’s largest nurses union.

Public-private advocate Jacki Schechner of Health Care for America Now put it another way: “Let’s just say that if we were in a relationship, our Facebook status would be, ‘It’s complicated,’” she joked.

As for the insurance industry?

“We were really pleased that our policy conference brought people together from across the spectrum for a productive policy discussion,” AHIP spokesman Mike Tuffin said, noting that Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch and President Barack Obama’s budget director, Peter Orszag, both attended.

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