Yesterday’s Sacramento Bee had a front page story by Bobby Calvan about how Blue Cross is phone banking its members about health reform.
If you are suspicious about an insurer being “for reform,” you should be. The story correctly says that Anthem Blue Cross strongly opposed health reform here in California in 2007 and had a hand in its defeat. More information about their role is at our website, http://www.sickofbluecross.com/.
There were other opponents that made a difference as well, such as the tobacco industry that opposed the late addition of a tobacco tax to the financing. Did the opposition of Blue Cross matter? Of course. Was it decisive? Not in our experience. We believe that we can win federal national reform, too, even if Wellpoint/Anthem/BlueCross attempts to oppose it. But only if win make clear what the insurance companies’ interests are, and how they differ with the interests of consumers.
But more amusing to us, was that one of the Blue Cross members they called was Joan Pirkle Smith, a long time member of the Health Access California Board. As indicated in the Bee, she’s been a supporter of single payer health care, such as HR 676 and SB810 (Leno). Joan has also supported comprehensive reform efforts from SB2/Prop. 72, the employer-based coverage expansion in 2003 and 2004, to AB 8 and AB x1 1 in 2007. I first met Joan during the fight for Prop. 186, the single payer ballot initiative here in California in 1994. She worked hard on HMO reform during the 1990s. We are proud of the Health Access community of organizations and individuals who, like Joan, keep trying to fix our broken health care system.