Wellpoint opposes healthcare reform with sham Health Action Network website

The two faces of Wellpoint, profiting from healthcare reform while opposing it.

The two faces of Wellpoint, profiting from healthcare reform while opposing it.

Wellpoint Inc., parent of Anthem Blue Cross in California, has launched a new website focused on health care reform called Health Care Reform 4 You. While the website has health care reform news, it also has an embedded link to a website called Health Action Network (HAN).

No grassroots found

HAN is billed as a grassroots movement advocating for market-based solutions. The term “grassroots” is misleading because Wellpoint, Inc. started the group which means this is a corporate “top-down” effort to shape health care reform. The term “market-based” is code for health insurance from private companies only. In other words, no government run programs should be considered.

 Share the stories we approve

At first glance, it looks as if the site is inviting everyday people to support health care reforms that will benefit them. They do this by asking people to share their stories about the importance coverage and plan options.  I shared that I thought it would be a great day when my clients could no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. It is doubtful that my comments will make it past their censors because it seems like they are only looking for stories about how awful “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act will be.

Generating opposition to health care reform

When you drill down on the site you notice that the site is tilted to generating comments and support AGAINST health care reform. Under the Economy and Jobs page, HAN argues how health care reform will mean job losses, slow hiring and increasing national debt.

Currently, the health care sector is on a hiring boom to get ready for all the new individuals that can finally get health insurance and seek medical attention. Personally, I find it offensive that anyone argues against covering all Americans because it might cost our nation money. The alternative is the high priced emergency room visits that go unpaid and lead to higher health insurance rates for the rest of us.

Trying to link health care quality to health insurance

The Affordability page uses typical fear triggers by speculating that, “consumers could see significant declines in the quality and accessibility of their health care options.” The health insurance companies have been the guilty ones when it comes to denying procedures for their members. The quality is governed by the doctors and hospitals, not health insurance.

Push the unprofitable poor to government programs

In a blatant statement that we must sacrifice health insurance for poor in order to maintain high quality health care for the privileged, the Access page states, “The goal of extending health care to all American is admirable, but we must ensure that this goal is not pursued with regressive, overreaching government mandates, rules and new taxes.” Yes, it is always better to put profits and low taxes before the health of our neighbors.

The free market failed

Further, they accuse the Affordable Care Act as “undermining the value of the free market”. What they are really saying is that they want the freedom to continue to deny health insurance to people that have a high probability of costing them money. The free market has failed to provide a solution for covering the most vulnerable in our society. Their solution has been to push people onto government programs to preserve the profits of insurance companies.

 We should be more like Haiti, minimal government regulation

The Government page underscores their opposition federal government becoming a large-scale regulator of health care in the market place. Oddly, they note that “Governments of less-developed nations often play a minimal role in regulating and providing health care”. True. And less developed countries also have their citizens dying of preventable diseases. Do we want America to look like Haiti?

Oh God NO! Not Canadian healthcare.

The best part of the Government page is where they pull out the big bad bogey man of national universal coverage. “It [PPACA] is arguably, a dramatic first step towards a single-payer system in which the government could become the sole provider of health care insurance and services.” The more I read on the HAN website the more I realized it was written by Tea Party anti-government folks that are the first ones in line for Medicare…that single payer universal coverage that is so awful.

Advocating for full ACA repeal

The whole Health Action Network came into view when I clicked on the Advocate Resource link. The only document that is available is called “Assessing the Impact of Repeal: Congress Can Save up to 695,000 Jobs and Cut the Deficit by 279.7B” written by the American Action Forum. The “Talking Points” on the first page are repeal of the ACA saves jobs, protects Americans from higher taxes and reduces the federal debt.

Action Networks completely misleading

The American Action Forum is tied to the American Action Network which is essentially a Republican run organization dedicated to raising money and electing Republicans to congress. The American Action Network spent over $11 million in the 2012 election cycle on conservative candidates around the country. It wouldn’t surprise me if they actually set up and run the Health Action Network on behalf of Wellpoint, Inc.

Wellpoint, Inc. to benefit from expanded Medicaid, profit from the poor

The State page has an image of the U.S. and when you place your cursor over a state the pop up tells you how much Medicaid will cost. In California Estimated cost to state taxpayers for Medicaid increases: $19.4 billion (2018-2023). Did the designers of this site know that Wellpoint bought Amerigroup, a Medicaid specialist, and is poised to clean up on tax payer supported Medicaid expansion under the ACA?

Just shameful

So it is fairly clear that while Wellpoint, Inc. is setting up their health insurance business to reap the profits of health care reform, they are still fundamentally opposed to it. The Health Action Network website is a sham and Wellpoint, Inc. should be ashamed of surreptitiously promoting it to Anthem Blue Cross members. Don’t fall for the slick website being promoted as “grassroots”. HAN is anything but grassroots and is nothing more than a corporate and political website masquerading as a populace movement.

  • Rosemary

    EXCELLENT! What a great piece of investigative reporting for Ca consumers, Kevin! I’m sure there’s a template like it in most states. At the very least, your piece reminds us of how corporate bullies manipulate again and again to create falsehood for the sole purpose of screwing American consumers.

    • Kevin Knauss

      These corporations try to be so devious in their attempts to hoodwink us. The more I read on that site the more disgusted I became. It was obviously written by the tea party activists at the American Action Network that has close ties to Karl Roves super PAC. I read they share the same office space.

  • Randy Owens

    Thanks Kevin for this article. What a bunch of scumbags at Wellpoint (and probably all the carriers). I’ve shared this on FB.

    • Kevin Knauss

      Ironic how both of us are from the insurance industry and have no love of it at all.

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