The insurance industry would not hold a gun to our heads in order to kill any reform of health care. That's because they've paid good money to have lawmakers such as Rep. Paul Ryan do that for them.
Here is Ryan this week on the floor of the House warning that premiums will more than double if the health-care-reform proposals that he and the industry dislike were to become law.
What a coincidence. Because, speaking of the insurance business, Ryan happens to feed at their lobby trough.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the insurance business is a close second in the ranking of industries as a source of his campaign contributions. His $57,550 worth of contributions in this election cycle from either individuals or PACs tied to insurance is about four times the average contribution the industry devotes to individual lawmakers. Ryan ranks in the top 20 of all recipients of insurance lobbyist largesse in the House.
Unfortunately for those pimping Ryan, this scare tactic doesn't work on people who are already shell-shocked by exploding insurance costs. Oh, no, not rising premiums!!
According to the National Coalition on Health Care, premium costs for both employers and workers has risen on average 131 percent over the last decade. A White House report finds some states with increases over that period as high as 150 percent.
So Ryan's threat, when you look at the numbers, boils down to a claim that me and my boys will keep doing to you what we have already done. The worse that can happen is more of the same.
Incidentally, Ryan has also used scare tactics about threats to Medicare in his dutiful service to the insurance industry and its fight against reform. Kelly Gallaher of the Racine area did a good job of exposing this.