Imagine that you are a huge health insurance company. You make a fortune off of health insurance. One can contend (we do), that our overreliance upon health insurance may be the single largest factor for the excess waste that is our public (think hundreds of billions a year in medicaid, medicare) and private (think, along with the public, close to an astonishing 18 percent of our GDP when "health related" things are taken into account) health care expenditures. So as an enormous health insurer you are at least not unhappy when the one thing everyone seems to agree upon is more mandated government intrusion -- this time making everyone get health "insurance."
Now consider the so called "public option." Forget for the moment whether it is a good idea or not (and here we don't pretend to know, barring more information). The public option, at least in theory, would provide an option -- ostensibly, and one presumes, realistically, to compete with private insurance, in order to bring down costs and increase true competition.
It has the potential to greatly cut into insurance coverage, profits, and even relevance. It might even, in theory at least, provide a more viable, lower cost, quality alternative to what is currently available in the form of health insurance (an idea that there is now otherwise broader support in favor of mandating for everyone), which might cut even further into conventional health care. So as this huge health insurance company, you can't be happy about his, right?
As the Post points out (emphasis all added):
The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers, and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public insurance option.However, as the Post also points out, the Lewin Group is owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest health insurers in the country. Nope, no conflict of interest there. Sort of like there would be no conflict of interest if a prominent land developer gave $250,000 in cash to a Congressman, who was later assigned to head the committee responsible for choosing among land developers for a multi billion dollar land project. Or if a judge was ruling in a case where the defendant was his first cousin.
To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, [the "Lewin group"] is "the nonpartisan Lewin Group." To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an "independent research firm." To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is "well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country."
Once again, the Lewin Group, whose work is being widely cited as part of the opposition to a public option inclusion, is part of a subsidiary of an enormous health insurance carrier. (See the Post article for more fascinating revelations regarding that subsidiary).
How is it that Democrats -- the party that seems to be more in support of both health care "reform," as well as the public option if there is going to be such "reform," stand for such misrepresentative framing by those opposed to their proposals?