About the same time that the head of a health insurer trade group was asking for some civility, the White House press secretary was making a similar plea.
Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, asked for more civility Tuesday, during a press conference that landed in an article on the front page of The New York Times.
“A campaign has been launched to demonize health plans and the men and women who work hard every day in their communities to provide health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans,” Ignagni said.
Supporters of health system change ought to recognize that health insurers have made efforts to compromise and tone down the rhetoric, Ignagni said.
Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s press spokesman, also complained about the increasingly raucous tone of the health system change debate, especially during the “town hall meetings” being held to promote health system change legislation, during a White House briefing held later in the day.
“I think the president would tell any of his friends or supporters that go to town hall meetings that first and foremost we can disagree — as you heard him say, we can disagree without being disagreeable, and that we can have a debate in this country that affords those that disagree with us the respect that each and every one of them deserve,” Gibbs said, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
A reporter at the briefing asked Gibbs whether the White House believes that “the anger that some members of Congress are experiencing at town hall meetings, especially over health care reform, is manufactured.”