Latest Swing of Revolving Door Puts Former Medicare Czar in Charge of Health Insurance Lobby

Tavenner appointment reveals that insurers will continue to chase federal money.

Washington’s notorious revolving door was in full swing again last week as the health insurance industry snagged another top federal official to help it get what it wants out of lawmakers and regulators.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s biggest lobbying and PR group, announced Wednesday that its new president, starting next month, will be none other than Marilyn Tavenner, who served as the chief administrator of the Centers

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Insurers’ Arguments Key to Supreme Court Decision

Upholding Obamacare only way to avoid ‘death spiral.

It is clear from both the first paragraph and closing comments in the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Obamacare subsidies that the justices listened more closely to the insurance industry than perhaps any other party.

In an amicus brief it filed with the court in King v. Burwell, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, painted a dire picture of what would happen to the private health insurance market—and to

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For-Profit Hospitals Mark Up Prices By More Than 1,000 Percent Because There’s Nothing To Stop Them

Health facility charges run amok.

If you think costs would come down if hospitals were all owned and operated by big for-profit corporations like Hospital Corporation of America, you might want to take a look at a study published last week by the journal Health Affairs.

Of the 50 U.S. hospitals that mark up prices the most, 49 of them are part of for-profit hospital chains, according to the study’s authors, Ge Bai of Washington & Lee University and Gerard

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The Best Health Care System in the World? Nonsense!

Let’s stop buying the party line from insurers and drug companies.

Americans spend more per capita on health care than people anywhere else in the world, yet outcomes in every other developed country are better on almost every measure, from infant mortality to life expectancy.

A big reason for that is our collective gullibility. We continue to believe what many politicians tell us, despite evidence to the contrary: that we have the best health care system in the world.


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Former Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s New Group, The Better Medicare Alliance, Is Not What It Appears

Fronting for a phony front group.

The health insurance industry took advantage of Washington’s infamous revolving door last week when it named former Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, perceived by many to be a liberal Democrat, as the face of its latest K Street-operated front group.

Schwartz, a former five-term member of Congress who made an unsuccessful bid for Pennsylvania governor last year, announced in an email blast Tuesday that she had found work again, not back home but back

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Energy Firms, Health Insurers Deftly Use Others to Spread Propaganda

The disinformation dance.

I usually don’t pay a lot of attention to the songs on a restaurant’s playlist, but when “The Old Rugged Cross” came on at the Manassas, Virginia, Cracker Barrel as I was traveling to Tennessee recently, I put my fork down and listened.

Hearing the hymn took me back nearly half a century to my childhood in Kingsport, Tennessee. Every Sunday morning, we listened to the “hymn program” on WMCH, a Christian radio station, as we got

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The Enduring Myth of Cost Shifting

Don’t believe insurers’ line that federal cuts are boosting our costs.

Health insurance executives and lobbyists have for years told us that one of the main reasons they charge us so much for coverage is the cost shifting that results from Uncle Sam’s stinginess.

The story goes like this: hospitals are paid so inadequately by government programs like Medicare and Medicaid that they have to charge private insurers more to keep their doors open.

One of the regular communicators of

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Fed War on Health Care Spending Abuse Needs to Include Medicare Advantage

Obama administration bragging about anti-fraud efforts, but Center report showed bigger dollars are being lost elsewhere.

The Obama administration went to great lengths last week to inform us that it recovered $3.3 billion in fraudulent payments to Medicare health care providers in fiscal year 2014. Officials even went so far as to give an advance copy of their report to The Wall Street Journal, which, like the Center for Public Integrity, has been investigating Medicare fraud and abuse.

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Consumers Getting ‘Skinned’ by Health Insurers

Bigger premiums, more cost sharing equate to big profits.

The reason health care costs are so high is because Americans don’t have nearly enough “skin in the game.”

That was the phrase that many of my former colleagues in the insurance industry and I began using in the early 2000s as a way to deflect attention away from us.

Americans — especially American employers — looked to private insurers to help control medical costs. But insurers were failing miserably, and

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Anatomy of a True Health Insurance Death Spiral

States deprived of subsidies by SCOTUS could face market collapse felt by guaranteed-issue states that lacked an individual mandate.

I mentioned in my last post that a Supreme Court decision in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell would likely lead to a collapse of the health insurance market in more than two-thirds of the states. History bears this out.

Historical precedents

In the years before the Affordable Care Act was passed, several states tried to bring an end

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