(Not) Breaking News: "The Obama administration and the health insurance industry have suddenly discovered that they need each other."


The New York Times squints and rubs its eyes in wonder at the pairing of two political adversaries:

After squaring off as political foes for more than a year, the Obama administration and the health insurance industry have suddenly discovered that they need each other.

Suddenly, eh? So the Times thinks this is a recent development? That's interesting, because I swear I've heard something like this before somewhere.

Look, it's easy to paint insurers as villains and act surprised when the industry buddies up with Washington. And, sure, it would be an exaggeration to say they supported the health care overhaul wholeheartedly; AHIP CEO Karen Ignagni was never going to quit her job and go volunteer at Health Care for America Now. And it's likely that there will be continued squabbling over rate hikes and regulations as ObamaCare takes shape. But the insurers saw where the legislative winds were blowing, knew they were going to be targeted, and, as a result, decided early on to suck up to the administration in an effort to get into its good graces, and thereby expand their influence. In doing so, they—like PhRMA (though not quite as explicitly)—made themselves partners in the health care reform process.

The flipside of that is that, for all its stern rhetoric, the White House ended up partnering with the insurers. The federal government has never regulated health insurance to this extent before—those responsibilities were left to the states—and, ultimately, the insurers are responsible for carrying out a lot of what the health care law calls for. And now the two are stuck together. They may not like each other, or at the very least they may not want to be seen to like each other, but either way, they're locked arm in arm—and they're going to be for a while.

NEXT: It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's a Private Rocket!

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  1. This must be what they meant when they said Obama is a uniter.

    So far he’s united the federal government with the auto industry, the mortgage industry, the hospital industry, the broadband industry, ….

  2. Obama is commie scum. Let’s get real, people. It’s time for a tea party.

  3. You should be fined for not having insurance because if you have an emergency and go to the emergency room, then you do not have the money for the bill, it gets charged to everyone else. Get medical insurance for your entire family at the best price from http://bit.ly/cmg7mK By contributing to the pool and doing your part, overall costs come down. Its like stores that have to charge more because of all the theft. People go to the hospital and then not pay, it gets charged to everyone else.

  4. It’s only temporary. Government edicts requiring insurance companies to provide increasingly costly services will result in rate hikes. The left will then start screaming about profiteering, evil capitalists, and the stage will be set for full government takeover of the health care system. This is only a temporary alignment much like the Nationalists and Communists in China in the late 1920s, only this time the Communists will win.

    1. im pretty sure the communists eventually won in that other example too

    2. I would agree.
      The gubermint has a great advantage over private enterprise – lying. It can simply declare procedures ineffective, not approve costly treatments, ration surreptitiously, try all sorts of outrageous schemes, and because the sovereign cannot be sued (or even generally held to account criminally except for those poor schnooks who don’t get it)implement those that nobody makes a stink about.
      Gubermint motto: you’ll be living less long, but as we stopped paying for morphine, you won’t mind.

  5. I saw the CEO of HealthNet speak in early 2009. He urged the audience to support the Obama health care plan. At that time, there was not even an Obama health care plan in writing.

  6. This article is really great, strong support

  7. there was not even an Obama health care plan in writing.

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