"WASHINGTON — President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of using “deceptive and dishonest ads” to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal antitrust laws. In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system.
The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to challenge industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums. “It’s smoke and mirrors,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade.’ Well, not this time.” Rather than trying to curb costs and help patients, he said, the industry is busy “figuring out how to avoid covering people.” “And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exemption from our antitrust laws,” he said, “a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.”
The president’s attack underscores the sharp break between the White House and the insurance industry as the health care debate moves closer to a climax. When Mr. Obama took office, he and his advisers had hoped to keep insurers at the table to forge a consensus. But as the months passed, the strains grew — until this past week, when industry-financed studies attacking the Democratic plan signaled an open rupture."Of course Obama didn't like that little report the insurance companies released last week that showed an 18 percent rise in premiums. Funny that the Ny Times is ignoring how Obama threatening to sick the Justice Department's anti-trust division on the insurance companies is - what they accused Bush of - a "politicization of of the DOJ"