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News :: Labor : Politics : Social Welfare
Insurance Industry backed report Blasted as Special Interest Cover Up
17 Oct 2005
Health care reformers blasted an insurance industry-backed report as a "special interest" cover up. Grassroots group says "Roadmap to Coverage" report ignores common sense approach that would save money, while improving quality and access to health care for all.
BOSTON - Members of Jobs with Justice's Health Care Action Committee critiqued the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation's final report, "Roadmap to Coverage" as an effort to make sure no reform moves forward that challenges control by special interests of our health care system.

In a strongly worded letter sent prior to a TV broadcast of Oct. 7 summit meeting highlighting the Foundation's recommendations, the committee called its policy prescriptions "a reflection of powerful medical and insurance industry interest groups," with research questions framed to "reach a preordained outcome."

The JWJ committee cited the report for only offering prescriptions that require spending more money on health care. "Massachusetts currently spends more than any other state (or country) on health care," the letter said. "At a projected $8,213 per person in 2005, we are over one-quarter higher than the U.S. average. While throwing more money at the problem may cover a few more of the uninsured, it continues to fatten the insatiable special interests that are already feeding at the trough."

"As documented by previous research studies, creating a state agency that has the legal authority to negotiate reasonable prices with hospitals, drug companies and doctors would result in a projected annual savings of $1.1 billion that would allow Massachusetts to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for all," it continued.

The report's prescriptions make it, "harder for the public and our elected officials to see the best way of achieving long overdue reforms that comprehensively address the three pillars of health care: cost, coverage, and quality."

"By failing to challenge the free market assumptions that allowed hospitals, drug companies, and the insurance industry to get us into the current mess, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and its allies have mainly served rich and powerful special interests at the expense of the public interest."

The JWJ Health Care Action Committee links workers' struggles against cost shifting and cuts in health care services with the broader fight for universal health care. Copies of the letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation are available from Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.

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