Did you know the insurance companies released another biased "report" yesterday showing how much they’d increase premiums on us if they didn’t get their way in Congress? No? I didn’t either. But it’s true!

Like the last report from the insurance industry, Blue Cross Blue Shield paid a corporate consultant – Oliver Wyman this time, instead of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which the insurance companies used last time – to come up with the data they wanted to say what they wanted. Namely, that health reform will cause them to raise rates and thus cost you and me more money.

The problems with this report are similar to the problems with the insurance companies’ last report. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase the White House, who got their hands on an early copy of the report before it was released yesterday, it’s a pack of lies.

But that’s not the interesting part. The real interesting part is how little of a splash this report made. When the insurance companies released their first report of this kind in October, they got front page coverage in papers like the Washington Post. The Post even gave Karen Ignagni, AHIP’s top lobbyist, op-ed space to defend her lies.

By contrast, the report released yesterday barely made a sound. In fact, I didn’t even realize it had been released, and it’s my job to stay on top of stuff like this.

The report resulted in a few small writeups in outlets like Forbes and Modern Healthcare. But overall, nobody was paying attention. This shouldn’t be a surprise – the insurance companies are actively working to kill any bill in Congress, telling their employees to send messages to Congress supporting a filibuster.

However, this report and its impact should serve as a lesson to the insurance companies: Nobody believes what you say anymore, not even the media. You released a report and nobody cared. Your credibility is shot.

The report – paid for by Blue Cross and put slapped together to match a pre-ordained conclusion by a corporate "research" firm – is full of simple charts trying to explain clearly how much more money the insurance industry will extort from you and me if reform passes. Well, I’ve got my own simple chart for the insurance companies:

Money spent on lobbyists: Over $1 million per day
Money spent on fake reports: Hundreds of thousands of dollars
Money spent on faux grassroots campaigns: Millions of dollars
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Credibility: None

Meanwhile, Aetna is dropping the coverage of 600,000 people to raise their profits. Despicable.

(also posted at the NOW! blog)

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