Private Health Insurers Back Reform

Firms risk losing customers; aim to avoid single-payer plan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 7, 2009 8:10 AM CDT
President Barack Obama meets with Senate Democrats to discuss health care last week in the State Dinning Room in Washington.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – Facing a shrinking customer base, private health insurers are backing reform in the industry—a surprise from the same firms that fought President Clinton’s health care effort, the Los Angeles Times reports. Insurers are supporting a proposed mandate backed by the  Obama administration that would require everyone to buy insurance. That would be a boon for companies losing customers to high premiums, the recession, and baby boomers turning to Medicare.

Such a plan would mean millions more customers for the companies, though industry reps say they’re not just acting to help themselves. Many company officials feel a need to get on board with current government proposals rather than risk, say, a single-payer plan. “This time, you get the sense something is going to happen," said a lobbyist. "So to stand up and just say no is probably not wise, because politically you could get run over.”