US Insurance industry cites increased cost to oppose healthcare reform

After an extended period of collaboration on president Obama's much touted revamp of the US healthcare system, the US insurance industry is up in arms and plans to issue a warning that the typical family premium could increase over the next decade by $4,000 in excess the projection under current law.

The critique, coming a day ahead of a key Senate committee vote on the legislation has drawn a barbed response from the Obama administration, signaling a fallout between the two central players in the health care drama.

According to industry officials the report on the increased costs would be circulated on Capitol Hill and promoted in advertisements, a move that could jeopardise action on the legislation this week.

Administration officials who had been in close contact with the insurers have questioned the timing and authorship of the report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers and funded by America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry group

According to Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, PricewaterhouseCoopers specialised in tax shelters and health insurance was not their area of expertise.

At the same time, White House officials had to withdraw plans to tout Repulican support of the president's policy initiative.