Tensions Escalate Between Obama Administration, Health Insurers
CQ HealthBeat: "WellPoint CEO Angela Braly is protesting comments President Obama made about how a health insurance company treated women diagnosed with breast cancer. [Her] letter marks another battle in the ongoing clash between the administration and the insurance companies - most prominently WellPoint - that hasn't lessened after enactment of the new health care law" (Norman, 5/10).
The tension came to head this weekend when President Obama alluded to questions about whether the insurer canceled policies held by women diagnosed with breast cancer and WellPoint chief executive Angela Braly fired back with a letter saying the "attacks ... must end," The Wall Street Journal reports. The letter said "Obama's statement 'grossly misrepresents' the facts. 'To be absolutely clear: Despite your claims, WellPoint does not single out women with breast cancer for rescission. Period,' she wrote" (Johnson and Wisenberg Brin, 5/11).
Braly "urged Obama to stop his attacks on health insurers," The Hill reports. She wrote: "Mr. President, this country has a long history of coming together after tough debates. The implementation of the new healthcare reform law should be no different. If we are going to make this law work on behalf of all Americans, the attacks on the health insurance industry - an industry that provides valued coverage for more than 200 million Americans - must end." The Hill adds: "The administration cast health insurers as villains at the end of the national debate on healthcare reform, and Democrats have continued to hit at the industry since Obama signed the bill into law in March" (Pecquet, 5/10).