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AHIP and Blue Cross: We will treat everyone fairly if we can define fair

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Health insurers pull a fast one in proposed reform

The industry says it will treat all people fairly in return for a government requirement that everyone has to buy their product. But they want to charge different prices for different levels of coverage ...

...Yet if you read the fine print in their plan, it turns out that they're reserving the right to charge different prices for different levels of coverage -- a practice that would effectively keep us where we are, with sick (or potentially sick) people paying more for insurance.

The loophole was included -- "hidden" is a more apt word -- in a letter sent to prominent senators from a pair of industry leaders: Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Plans, an industry group; and Scott P. Serota, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Assn.

The letter featured insurers' willingness to adopt a more inclusive coverage policy in return for "an effective, enforceable requirement that all Americans assume responsibility to obtain and maintain health insurance."

In other words, a government mandate that everyone become the industry's customers.

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