Ignagni: Misleading AHIP Study? What Misleading AHIP Study?

Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), has penned something a wee bit shy of a mea culpa, explaining away last week’s much-derided industry study finding that health care reforms will cause people’s premiums to skyrocket.

According to Ignagni, AHIP never meant to hide the ball from anybody:

The study clearly states that its analysis covers only these provisions and specifically notes that it did not factor in the impact of proposed premium subsidies. Nevertheless, critics have charged that the study nefariously hid the fact that it omitted provisions designed to enhance affordability, such as the subsidies and a grandfathering clause.

Elided here is the fact that AHIP asked PricewaterhouseCoopers specifically not to include the mitigating factors of subsidies and other affordability measures, in an attempt to make it seem as if Congress was on the verge of passing legislation that would cause everyone’s insurance premiums to skyrocket.

Also elided is that, as has been widely reported, AHIP misled the White House about the existence of the study, despite being a nominal partner in the White House’s reform efforts.Earlier in the piece, Ignagni reflects back on the early days of the reform discussion:

Health plans continue to strongly support reform. In fact, last year we proposed new insurance market rules and consumer protections to achieve universal coverage, remove restrictions on preexisting conditions and end the practice of basing premiums on health status or gender.

And, indeed, AHIP remains committed to the idea that if everybody has to buy insurance, the insurance industry will sell those people plans at…some price.