Blanche Lincoln is working hard to become the most stalwart defender of the for-profit health insurance industry among Senate Democrats (that is an impressive accomplishment because Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman are giving her a real run for her money).
Last week, Blanche Lincoln said she was maybe open to a delayed trigger that might be pulled if the insurance companies are still not behaving nice in 2017. Recently, before the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln tried to clarify her remarks to reassure everyone that the trigger she was open to would be completely useless.
Lincoln also clarified a statement she made last week that she was open to the idea of a trigger to introduce a public plan if insurance companies do not make insurance affordable. She told reporters she favors a trigger only if it is not linked to a public plan funded and operated by the federal government.
“I think there’s options or opportunities for things like co-ops, nonprofits, state plans. States could create plans themselves, or even enhance some of the plans that states already have,” she said.
“The trigger part is something that I’m open to. It’s just what it triggers,” she said.
Even if the private health insurance industry completely fails by some metric approved by Sen. Lincoln, she is so philosophically opposed to the federal government providing people under 65 with health insurance that she would still refuse to give Americans in need access to a working government insurance program like Medicare. She wants a delayed trigger for co-ops, which the CBO said is worthless. A delayed trigger for small, highly restricted, unworkable, state-based public plans.
Now, that is the kind of threat which should really scare the large, for-profit health insurance companies into cleaning up their act. “If you insurance companies don’t start playing nice, we might sometime next decade make you face competition from a very weak nonprofit unlikely to establish any significant market share.”–can’t you just picture the health insurance CEOs trembling in their boots?
Thank you, Blanche Lincoln. It is often hard to tell if a politician stands with regular working class American people or with rich powerful corporations trying to rip them off. That is not the case with you, Sen. Lincoln; you had the decency to make where you stand crystal clear. Thank you for at least making your decision to fight to protect the for-profit health insurance companies public.