Memo tells employees to keep a low profile
A spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's trade group, admitted in an article published Monday that as many as 50,000 industry employees are involved in an effort to fight back against aggressive healthcare reform.
The admission, published in the last sentence of a Wall Street Journal article, highlights the stakes of potential healthcare reform for the private health insurance industry. Insurers and investors alike are terrified at the prospect of a so-called "public option," which would create a government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers. Because the government plan wouldn't have to earn a profit, the plan would be able to undercut the premiums of private firms, pressuring profit margins.
"The health-insurance industry is sending thousands of its employees to town-hall meetings and other forums during Congress's August recess to try to counter a tide of criticism directed at the insurers and remain a player and not an outsider in the debate over the future of the health-care system," the Journal's Vanessa Fuhrmans and Avery Johnson wrote Monday.