Health-Care Grudge Match!

In the battle between the White House and health insurers, two longtime colleagues face off

(L. to R): Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP; Bloomberg / Getty

Karen Ignagni, left, vs. Nancy-Ann DeParle

On the surface, there was nothing unusual about the Oct. 6 telephone call between White House health-care boss Nancy-Ann DeParle and Karen Ignagni, the leading medical-insurance lobbyist in Washington. The two women have known each other for years and often speak several times a week. Though Ignagni's group, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), has long been leery of — and at other times downright hostile to — the health-care bills moving through Congress, an uneasy truce was holding between the insurers and a White House bent on reform. But just barely: when DeParle and a Senate aide asked Ignagni during the...

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