Health Reform Deals Spark Anger, Insurers Question Policies And Politics
"Special legislative favors, especially one designed to secure a Nebraska senator's vote for the embattled health care package, ignited so much public outrage that President Barack Obama is calling them a mistake," The Associated Press reports. "Obama says Americans were understandably upset by the backroom dealmaking that he called ugly. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, said Tuesday the House may be able to pass the Senate health bill - and salvage Obama's top domestic priority - if the offending items are deleted. ... Strategists say Democratic leaders underestimated their foes' ability to use the Internet and other outlets to feed unsavory depictions of legislative dealmaking to angry voters already suspicious of Congress" (Babington, 1/27).
The Washington Times reports that James Carlson, chairman and CEO of the insurer Amerigroup Corp. said "the decision by President Obama and congressional Democrats to cut health insurance companies out of the debate and vilify them was a misguided strategy because insurers were the primary interest group intent on reining in costs. 'We're frankly conflicted,' he said. 'You can't spend the years we've spent looking at the problems of health care and costs and ever think that this is a situation that can solve itself. Even though there's plenty not to like for us in the reform bills, all things considered we still would like to see something pass and think the Senate version is more workable for us'" (Sands, 1/27).