Obama says GOP is protecting insurers, not limited government

President Obama has taken a new line of attack against Republicans to neutralize their argument that his reforms would pose a government takeover of the health-care sector, arguing subtly that the GOP is committed more to the insurance industry than they are limited government.

The president began framing the new narrative at midday Thursday, during the lunch break of his day-long bipartisan summit with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders (transcript here, here, here and here).

“If you look at the issue of how much government should be involved, the argument that the Republicans are making really isn’t that this is a government takeover of health care but rather that … we’re regulating the insurance market too much,” Obama said as he walked from the Blair House back to the White House after the summit’s morning session.

His comment sprang out of a back and forth with a few Republican lawmakers over whether exchanges meant to allow individuals and small businesses to pool together for greater purchasing power should be regulated by the government to ensure that insurers meet “baseline … minimum requirements” to protect consumers.

The next day, Friday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs spoke three separate times, during his on-camera briefing with reporters, of a “philosophical” difference between Republicans and Democrats over how to treat the insurance industry.

“The question … is whether or not, again, whether or not the philosophical differences of regulating the insurance industry, regulating insurance companies and providing people with a base level of protection is a bridge just simply too far for the Republicans to come,” Gibbs said.

But Republicans, as far as philosophical convictions go, are opposed to too much government control. Democratic proposals to regulate exchanges, they believe, amount to more than just consumer protections.

Republicans have said the Democrats’ health-care reforms are a government takeover long after the government-run “public option” was off the table. They have cited proposals that mandate every American buy insurance combined with proposals that would give the government say-so over what constitutes a qualified plan one must buy.

“We don’t care for this bill,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican. “It does have to do with the philosophical difference that you point out. It does have to do with our fear that if you say that Washington can be the one to define essential health benefits, there may be a problem with that.”

“And that’s the language that’s in the Section 1302 of this bill, that it says that the secretary shall define for people what essential health benefits are,” Cantor said.

Nonetheless, on Saturday the president went for the jugular.

In his weekly address, Obama described differences that emerged between himself and Republicans at the summit Thursday.

  • sunnyr

    Poor Barry is in deep poo. Something tells me the young people on this Video are not buying’ that HOPE crap anymore.

    Here is a great Rap song on Obama – “OTP, One Term President.” Great!


  • yellowstone

    Nothing the liberal/progressive media or spokesmen say can be believed…Everything they say or do is framed and justified by Saul Alinsky, who said, “the ends justify any means”… Lie, cheat, steal, con, deceive, exaggerate and fabricate, to get what they want….Saul Alinsky said it, They DO it, and we have to BELIEVE it…!

  • libertyatstake

    “…arguing subtly that the GOP is committed more to the insurance industry …”

    Ummmmmmmm … just WHO has been meeting helath care lobbyists (like Billy Tauzin) behind closed doors?


  • didacticrogue

    Far and away our most mendacious “leader” since president-for-life FDR.

    Is he really this stupid, or does he just believe that we are?

    • toddthesofaking

      can you blame him if he thinks americans are stupid. over half the country voted for this empty suit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Edwards/48507152 Jason Edwards

    First off Obama has broken away from his deals with insurance companies in the days before the summit by having regulation on insurance rates being raised. Now insurance companies must go through the gates of hell. This is a necessary measure. You want to know what else are necessary? A national exchange, which the republicans should like because it allows consumers to buy insurance across state lines the only difference is it would set in place a minimum set of benefits. What is the reason for this? Well the reason is so insurance companies don’t go to the state with the least restrictions and lowest benefit plans. This leads me to the other necessary. Ending the anti-trust exemption. This will create tons of competition between insurance companies which will force them to keep cost down. Another necessary is the insurance mandate (now I would rather have the insurance mandate with the option of a public option). The more people that are in the buying pool. The more leverage the consumer has which goes right back to ending anti trust and having a national exchange. Also with out the insurance mandate we can’t end the denial of insurance because of pre-excisiting conditions. Because if you have people who have an illness buying insurance (ending the pre-excisting) their insurance will go through the roof. So to prevent this you spread of the playing field, which is why you have the insurance mandate. We must also force insurance companies to spend 80-90% of premiums on actual health care. Lastly but you need subsides for those buying insurance to make it more affordable.

    Now this article talks about of the GOP is protecting insurers. Which is 100% true. By saying they want to start over and making false claims about the HCR bill they are doing just that. PROTECTING INSURANCE COMPANIES. The republicans have this notion that free market for profit companies whether it is financial or insurance companies can regulate themselves. The these companies actually care about their consumer. That they won’t lie, cheat, or gouge the consumer. All of that is bologna. And has been proven untrue over and over again. You need strict regulation or else these companies will do whatever they have to to make a profit. Especially when it comes to someones health and finances you can’t allow companies to be on their own.

    • timeisnow

      We are not buying what you are selling, the insurance companies have to do that in each and every state now. Thats not anything new. What is new is Obama is mandating everyone to buy Health Ins or else, this little thing will have the Insurance companies swim in money for ever. Now thats a Deal and a half. By the way this is unconstitutional