CR: The President said that this bill would not have any impact on people who already had coverage, that it was about the uninsured, that there would be no change. Will this legislation change the coverage of people who are already paying for it?
Williams: My perception is, yes, things will change. You might not have a plan that includes the exact same doctors…
CR: Will insurance premiums go up?
Williams: The answer is yes, and some of the things that will drive those premiums are significant additional taxes the industry will ultimately have to pay in the first year.
Williams’ name may ring a bell. He was the insurance executive who had the courage to publicly and effectively challenge the president during his ABC News health-care infomercial in June. Williams made a compelling case against the “public option,” arguing that the federal government could not credibly set the rules for private insurers while directly competing with them:
Since we’re revisiting that ABC special, it’s worth recalling the exchange that generated the most buzz –President Obama’s breathtakingly frank description of how health-care rationing will affect the elderly:
Jane Sturm told the story of her nearly 100-year-old mother, who was originally denied a pacemaker because of her age. She eventually got one, but only after seeking out another doctor.
“Outside the medical criteria,” Sturm asked, “is there a consideration that can be given for a certain spirit … and quality of life?”
“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit,” Obama said. … “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking painkillers.“
This forget-surgery, painkillers-for-granny moment still stands out as a disturbing low point of the entire health-care debate. It may also provide a ghoulish glimpse into our future.