The great thing about the people who run and lobby for life and health insurers is that they are generally smart, reasonable people who may hold a particular position but can see everyone’s point of view.
A lot of them have come out of health care administration, the actuarial profession or sales.
People who administer organizations that provide health care certainly want to sustain the organizations financially, but they also very sincerely want to provide health care.
Actuaries very sincerely want the numbers to work.
Sales people have to understand why the nice men and women on the other side of the table aren’t buying, and, if possible, they would like to come up with proposals that resolve the objections and close deals.
For the most part, insurance people come out of flexible, reality-based operations, not operations that mimic “war by other means,” or 4-dimensional politicla chess, and involve wiping out the other side for the sheer abstract joy of wiping out the other side, even if wiping out the other side interferes with you accomplishing what you really want to accomplish.
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Washington, for example, has always stood up for what it regards as being fair and flexible state and federal treatment of health plans, and it might define consumer protection differently than, say, the people who run the Commonwealth Fund, New York, but AHIP also seems to be very quick to acknowledge when it and the Commonwealth Fund have common ground and work with the Commonwealth Fund and similar organizations when that seems to make sense. If AHIP hates the proposal the other side has proposed, AHIP tries to come up with a proposal that has at least something in it that might appeal to fair-minded people on the other side. And perhaps that’s true in part because the people at the companies that belong to AHIP genuinely want most of the same things that the people who support the Commonwealth Fund want. They all want babies to live and bad germs to die.
The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), Washington, seems to hate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 with quite a bit more open passion than AHIP does, but NAHU doesn’t seem to me to generally be trying to kill off the other side. It’s just trying to get Congress and regulators to adopt solution that fit better with what its members believe to be the right way to proceed.
It seems as if the members of the Super Committee in Washington that is supposed to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cut proposals by Wednesday are similarly intelligent, reasonable, rational, open-minded people.
But it also seems as if members of the Super Committee are surrounded by armies of strategists who have little to do with normal voters or normal corporate executives who think that compromise is akin to cannibalism and that the people on the other side are truly enemies, not just political opponents