At a speech today in Philadelphia, President Barack Obama set his sights on the insurance industry as the main stumbling block to the passing of a National Health Care plan, saying they would rather not insure the people who need insurance the most.
“These insurance companies have made a calculation,” Obama told the crowd at Arcadia University. “They’re okay with people being priced out of health insurance because they’ll still make more by raising premiums on the customers they keep.”
Some have defended the recent moves of insurance companies like Anthem Blue Cross in California, who are attempting to raise rates on some policy holders by over %30, saying that there’s no reason for insurers not to make a profit in every sector of their business. However, says Obama, it’s just a matter of time until the average person starts feeling the water boiling around them.
“Every year, they raise premiums higher and higher… They will keep on doing this for as long as they can get away with it. This is no secret,” he explained. “They’re telling their investors this: ‘We are in the money. We are going to keep on making big profits even though a lot of folks are going to be put under hardship.’”
Obama recounted a recent conference call organized by Goldman Sachs during which an insurance broker said insurance companies were better off raising rates on existing customers and losing customers than expanding their business with new customers.
The President is pushing for a vote on the plan by March 18.
“It’s time to make a decision,” he said. “The time for talk is over.”
He even had some words for those in his own party who think it’s risky to stick their neck out on this topic during a mid-term election year. “My question to them is, ‘When’s the right time? If not now, when? If not us, who? Is it a year from now or two years from now or five years from now or 10 years from now?’ I think it’s right now, and that’s why you’re here today.”