Speaking of bonehead moves, whoever is the head of PR for Anthem Blue Cross (and/or its parent, Wellpoint, Inc.) should be forced to buy their own health insurance for not throwing themselves in front of the bus which was Anthem's recent announcement that it would be raising rates on Californians who have individual (as opposed to group) insurance by 39 percent beginning March 1, 2010.
Even assuming the rate hike is actuarially necessary, is the company in such bad financial condition that the announcement couldn't have been delayed a month or two until they had seen how the health care debate played out in Washington?
According to OpenSecrets.org the total Blue Cross/Blue Shield (which includes more than Wellpoint, Inc.) lobbying tab in 2009 was $22,715,439.
The House and Senate come back to work today following a week of snow days followed by a week of recess. What do you think the chances for success will be of a BC/BS lobbyist trying to get in to see a Representative or Senator in advance of the Thursday meeting?
If I were a Republican Strategist (which I used to be) and I had been asked what I thought the GOP should do (which I was not) this would have been my idea:
Have some 30-second TV and 60-second radio ads written and produced which simply and directly make the four or five points that the GOP wants in any health care plan.
Leave five seconds at the end for Republican Members of the House and Senate to put their "disclaimer" on it.
Have each Member - whether running for re-election or not - agree to buy some significant, but not exorbitant, amount of advertising in their District or State; and have the RNC make up the difference in states which have little or no GOP representation.
That would have allowed the Republicans to march up Pennsylvania Avenue to Blair House secure in the knowledge that, at a minimum, their constituents knew what they stood for - no matter what theatrics President Obama and the Dems throw at them on Thursday.