Regence Really, Really Doesn't Like Health Care Reform

By Erica C. Barnett December 3, 2009


A couple of months ago, I was waiting on the phone for a representative from Regence Blue Shield when the hold music stopped and a message urging me to contact my representatives in Congress to ask them to oppose health-care reform.

Now, they've launched a microgame site called "Resist the System," in which you start out as a "lemming," and rack up points by "enhancing your saving power." (You can also be a sheep, a push-over, a skeptic, a seeker... all the way up to "activist" and "cost buster.")

You can also make the receptionist's head explode by asking too many questions.

Picture 7

The putative point of the game is to teach you to ask five specific questions of your doctors and nurses:

1. How much does that cost?
2. Is that really necessary?
3. Is there a cheaper option?
4. Is there a generic for that?
5. Has anybody out there had this before?

Good questions. But nack out from the game and you land on a site called "What's the Real Cost," which encourages you to "get more involved" by calling your representatives and ask them what the "real costs" (i.e., the hidden costs) are of health-care reform. For example, a page titled "It's the Cost, Mr. President" tells you that President Obama spent much of this year promising that health reform would 'bend the cost curve.' However, bills being considered by Congress focus more on expanding insurance coverage, not controlling costs."

As Consumerist notes, "Seems like they went to a lot of trouble to persuade folks that universal healthcare is bad."

More to the point: As a Regence customer, this isn't the way I want my health-care premiums to be spent. Health care companies have the right to lobby against universal health care, but they ought to keep it separate from their communications with their customers. I want health care from my health care provider—not an anti-health care political message.

(Thanks to tipster Steve).
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