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Friday, October 23, 2009

I made a fool of myself over Karen Ignagni

When I was young and stupid (last week ok middle aged and stupid) I wrote a post entitled "A Defence of Freakonomics." It got a lot of attention. Maybe I am addicted to contrarianism and just want attention.

Now I am going to argue that the true hero(ine) of US health care reform is not Ted Kennedy, not Ron Wyden, not Barack Obama, not even Elisabeth Edwards, but Karen Ignani.

She is head of the health insurance lobby AHIP. One would expect her to be leading the resistance to universal health insurance. Of course, she claims otherwise -- in fact she says she supports health care reform provided it is universal.

Why would anyone believe her ? Well for one thing, she has been working for universal health insurance since Barack Obama was in college. I hand the mic over to Matt

Look at her bio:

Prior to joining AAHP in 1993, Ms. Ignagni directed the AFL-CIO’s Department of Employee Benefits. In the 1980s, she was a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, preceded by work at the Committee for National Health Insurance and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What’s the Committee for National Health Insurance? Well:

The Committee for National Health Insurance was organized in 1969 through the efforts of UAW President Walter P. Reuther

You have to admit it answers a whole lot of nagging questions.

Now like Matt (and Paul) I don't really think the commically mendacious PWC analysis was a deliberate attempt to shoot the health insurance industry in the feet. My theory in the post below.

I do think that Ignagni has consistently not gone all out attacking any universal plan and did attack the first non-universal proposal to appear. My reading of the event was (and is) that it is just not possible to satisfy both Snowe and Ignagni.
I'm glad that Reid appears to have decided to satisfy neither, but I do think that Ignagni and Snowe have irreconcilable differences.

Look if someone repeatedly says something, if that statement fits with the entire history of their professional life and if her actions are explained by the hypothesis that the statement is not a lie, one might consider the possibility that it isn't a lie.

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