Billy Wigglestick was my nickname for Shakespeare when my kids were little. In was funny to an eight year old (once), but as an esteemed commentator you get no intellectual credit for quoting Shakespeare if you call him Billy Wigglestick. But one or two of our readers might have smiled and just might drop it on their own fifth grader.
In ‘The Tempest,’ Shakespeare gives us the inspiration for this most visual saying:
“A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg’d, nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats instinctively had quit it.”
Of course, it made sense to use the ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’ metaphor for the news that another of the mega health plans has bolted the big health plan trade group. If we can’t use Shakespeare to poke this group, what good is he?
Aetna has decided that they no longer need to be part of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the lobbying group for the insurance industry. This comes just a few months after UnitedHealth Group had already bolted.
Maybe the big boys decided they want to do their own lobbying instead of joining forces with their little piddly health plan brethren. Aetna, Humana and United already collaborate outside AHIP to lobby together regarding Medicare Advantage.
Maybe they don’t like the fact that Marilyn Tavenner, the new head of AHIP, is a little too cozy with the Administration, the very people who will fight Aetna’s big merger. She used to be the head of CMS for Obama, after all.
Regardless, it is telling that the big plans are going to save their $1 million a year in AHIP dues and go it alone in the halls of Congress.
Protecting a monopoly might trump advancing the views of the industry overall.