Health care report may backfire on industry

In the health care reform debate, where playing nice has been the rule, a scathing insurance industry report looked to critics Monday like a grenade aimed at scuttling progress in Congress.

But it also looked to some like too little, too late.

Not only did the report land many months into the debate — with Democrats on the cusp of passing bills through five committees — it infuriated some of the very people the industry group hoped to influence.

“I don’t view the impact of the report as a bill-stopper as much as a bill-changer,” said Robert Blendon, a health policy pollster and political analyst at Harvard University. “The momentum is way too far [in favor of passing a reform bill], and there is a sense out there that something has to be done.”

On the eve of a crucial vote in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, the industry group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, raced against the White House and Senate Democrats to frame the 26-page analysis conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which concluded that premiums would cost more under the Finance Committee legislation than under the current system.

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