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Karen Ignagni

It has been a difficult week for Karen Ignagni, chief lobbyist for America’s health-insurance companies, said Avery Johnson in The Wall Street Journal. While health-care reform wended its way through Congress, Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, veered from being an early supporter of the bill to a foe, thus becoming one of the Obama administration’s chief punching bags. At one point, Ignagni publicly implored Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to lay off “the politics of vilification.”

Now Ignagni is warning of “unintended consequences.” In an interview this week in National Journal, she says her greatest worry is that between now and 2014, when coverage becomes mandatory, more young, healthy Americans will drop their policies, “leaving in coverage people who are older and sicker” and forcing premiums further upward. But she suggests that AHIP will not try to repeal the legislation, and instead will focus on implementing the law and fixing its shortcomings. AHIP, she says, wants to “make sure that the people who have coverage right now aren’t disrupted and the people coming into the system have the service they expect to have.”

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