President Barack Obama's obsessive, opportunistic demonization of insurance companies in his quest to pass his not-yet-written health care proposal is growing tiresome. Aren't you getting sick of a president attacking American citizens and businesses as if they -- not Obama's beloved government -- were the enemy?
His repeated implication that insurance companies are the primary reason for rising health care costs is politically expedient, but it's still untrue. Government is the main culprit.
Throughout his yearlong push for Obamacare, he has called insurance companies every name in the book. He has blamed them for soaring costs, bludgeoned them for taking profits, condemned their executives' salaries and savaged them for denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
He even says insurers are the final arbiters of who gets care and who doesn't: "And insurance companies freely ration health care based on who's sick and who's healthy, who can pay and who can't."
Obama has framed the entire debate as if it were an insurance problem. In his theatrical speech Wednesday -- while flanked from all sides by white-coated props -- he said, "We began our push to reform health insurance last March," as if the thrust of his health care efforts has been to rein in insurers and little else.
Though Obama surely hates insurance companies, we all know he is up to much more than just punishing them. This is about a government takeover, even if it takes several incremental steps. Vilifying insurers sells better than glorifying government to a center-right nation generally suspicious of government.
Insurance companies are not the main reason for our exploding health care costs. If they were, the solution would not be to increase regulations on them, but to deregulate them and let the market work its magic.
To blame insurers for increasing costs is to imply they are guilty of some kind of collusion or price fixing. Does Obama really believe we have an evil insurance cartel in America?
Could it be that their rates are symptomatic of higher health care costs rather than the main driver of those costs? That said, aren't we likelier to see more competitive rates if we relax onerous regulations, such as laws preventing the purchase of health insurance across state lines (one of the many Republican proposals)?
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