Obama Blasts Insurers, Stumps for Health Care Reform in Pa. Speech
On Monday, President Obama traveled to Arcadia University near Philadelphia for a campaign-style rally aimed at generating public support for health reform legislation and encouraging lawmakers to cast a final vote on the overhaul, the Washington Post reports (Wilson, Washington Post, 3/8).
Obama's speech -- which he is scheduled to reprise on Wednesday in St. Louis -- is a continuation of more direct efforts by the president to guide the reform process, following his bipartisan health reform summit and the release of his own overhaul proposal. (California Healthline, 3/8).
In his speech, Obama addressed a crowd of about 1,800 people and criticized insurance companies, citing rising premiums and lost coverage as reasons for passing health reform legislation (Washington Post, 3/8).
Obama also discussed large rate increases for individual policyholders in various states. In addition, he spoke about health reform provisions that he said would protect consumers, provide U.S. residents more choice in the health insurance market, expand coverage and help control health care costs (Cooper/Herszenhorn, New York Times, 3/8).
The president also encouraged voters to lobby Congress about the need for reform (CongressDaily, 3/8).
Obama Cites Goldman Sachs Analysis, Conference Call
During the speech, Obama also cited a new analysis by New York investment bank Goldman Sachs that recommends investors buy shares in insurers UnitedHealth Group and Cigna. The analysis notes that health premiums are increasing, while competition is decreasing (CongressDaily, 3/8).
Obama said that during a conference call organized by Goldman Sachs "[a]n insurance broker told Wall Street investors that insurance companies know they will lose customers if they keep raising premiums."He added, "But since there's so little competition in the insurance industry, they're okay with people being priced out of health insurance because they'll still make more by raising premiums on the customers they have. And they will keep doing this for as long as they can get away with it" (Washington Post, 3/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.