In Ohio, Obama’s Attack on Insurers Continues
There were few surprises this morning from President Obama, who was in Strongsville, Ohio, to promote the health reform proposals the Democrats hope to move through the House this week. The president pointed out that (1) health costs, both public and private, are on an unsustainable path north; (2) most folks would see the cost of their insurance premiums fall under the reform bill, even as their coverage improves; and (3) an overwhelming majority of the reforms contained in the Democrats’ package are supported by Republicans as well.
I know many people view this as a partisan issue, but both parties have found plenty of areas where we agree. And what we’ve ended up with is a proposal that’s somewhere in the middle — one that incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans.
Also consistent in Obama’s speech was the argument — grown louder from the White House in the last week — that the private insurance industry is responsible for much of what’s wrong with the nation’s health care delivery system. What’s not to like, Obama asked, about a reform bill that would prohibit companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions? Or dropping coverage when patients get sick? Or hiking premiums for no reason outside of profit motive? He invoked memories of his mother, “in the last six months of her life, on the phone in her hospital room arguing with insurance companies when she should have been spending time with her family.”
We cannot have a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people. We know what will happen if we fail to act. We know our government will be plunged deeper into debt. We know millions more people will lose coverage. And we know that rising costs will saddle millions more families with unaffordable expenses — and will force many small businesses to drop coverage altogether.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this morning outlined the Democrats’ strategy for passing the Senate bill by not passing it. The question remains whether she can rally 216 Democrats behind the reconciliation bill said to “fix” the upper-chamber’s proposal. Should be quite a week.