WASHINGTON BUREAU — President Obama today renewed his attack on health insurers as House Democrats prepared to take a tough vote on a new health bill.
“Every year, insurance companies deny more people coverage because they have a preexisting condition,” Obama said today at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa. “Every year, they drop more people’s coverage when they’re sick and need it most. Every year, they raise premiums higher and higher.”
Obama also will be making a health bill speech later this week in Missouri.
He wants the House to vote on his health bill before March 18, when he plans to leave for an overseas trip.
“The price of health care is one of the most punishing costs for families, and for businesses, and for our government,” Obama said. “It’s forcing people to cut back or go without health insurance. It forces small businesses to choose between hiring or health care. It’s plunging the federal government deeper and deeper and deeper into debt.”
Some of the highest uninsurance rates are among young people, and insurance companies “continue to ration health care based on who’s sick and who’s healthy; on who can pay and who can’t pay,” Obama said. “That’s the status quo in America, and it is a status quo that is unsustainable for this country. We can’t have a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people. That’s why we need to pass health care reform — not next year, not 5 years from now, not 10 years from now, but now.”
Regarding those who ask about the political cost of acting now, Obama said, “My question to them is: When is the right time? If not now, when? If not us, who?
“We have debated health care in Washington for more than a year. Every proposal has been put on the table. Every argument has been made. I know a lot of people view this as a partisan issue, but both parties have found areas where we agree.”