In December, one update told of a Washington Post-ABC News poll, “indicating 53 % of our fellow Americans understand that their personal costs will increase under this proposal and only 37 % believe that their personal health care will improve.” WellPoint called for the Senate to “set aside this version of health care reform and construct a proposal that has broad and deep public support… Congress needs to hear from individuals.”

When all was said and done, the public option eventually disappeared, and the legislation preserved the private insurance system. WellPoint will continue to expand its market for individual policies, and will cross state lines in order to do so. Only time will tell whether the changes mandated by the bill—for example, restrictions on underwriting for medical conditions, and consumer protections associated with selling policies in states other than those in which a policy is written—will crimp WellPoint’s business style. But if they do, they can always count on a Health Action Network or something like it to make the crucial calls.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.