Has this been Barack Obama's master plan? He must have known, when he became president, that the health insurance companies would fight any sort of reform and regulation, tooth and nail. From the start, the president held out his hand to the insurance companies, Republicans, and conservative Democrats, and from the start, they've been less than cooperative. But this week, things took a more dramatic turn, with the release of a manipulated study showing that any sort of government reform would actually make things far worse for our already intolerable health care system. Were the HMO's crowing in triumph over the body of a defeated Barack Obama?
Well, if they were proclaiming victory, it may have been a little too early in the fight. Obama, on his Saturday radio address to the nation, came out fighting. The gist of it was that he had bent over backward to work with the insurers and they would have none of it. It looks as if the president is beginning a campaign to paint the insurance companies as enemies of the people, which, let's be honest, they are. What a great tactic. The health insurers, despite all evidence to the contrary, advertise themselves as caring, benevolent defenders of public health. Obama has maneuvered them into showing their true colors. The fight is a long way from over. (And in my opinion it won't be over until we have single payer.) But, the insurance companies have suddenly found themselves attacked by the most influential man in the world. And the theme of the attack is that he tried to be reasonable and work with the health care monopolies, and they just spit on the American consumer. Obama's call for the repeal of insurers anti-trust exemption is a great counter-offensive. Now, if he can do the same to bankers and credit card companies.