Potential Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama on Friday for his recent attacks on health insurance companies.
Obama has argued this week for congressional passage of a healthcare overhaul by pointing to rate increases by insurance companies that have made insurance unaffordable for many people.
Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met several top health insurance executives on Thursday to complain about what Sebelius called “jaw-dropping” rate increases.
Obama read them a letter from an Ohio woman who said her insurance premiums had gone up 25 percent in 2009 and were about to go up another 40 percent this year, making insurance unaffordable for her.
“Insurance companies freely ration healthcare based on who’s sick and who’s healthy; who can pay and who can’t,” Obama said on Wednesday.
Romney, who is contemplating a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, said in remarks at the National Press Club that the problems within the U.S. healthcare system are more complicated than simply zeroing in on the insurance industry.
“Gosh, how disappointing it was to see the president take on the health insurance companies, as if the reason that healthcare is expensive in America is because of the insurance companies,” Romney said.
“I’m sure there are some insurance companies that deserve blame and we can find them out and point them out,” he said. “But this is an issue that is broader than trying to punish some scapegoat.”
It is so dangerous to have a president who seems to want to vilify certain industries. Businesses don’t grow (including hiring people) when they are fearful that a marauding federal government will come after them and take what they have worked so hard to build. The kind of talk we are hearing out of Washington these days is a great way to extend the recession. Gov. Romney rightly opposes it.
For background on a similar era in American history, let me recommend Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man.