President Barack Obama is sparring with the insurance lobby, despite efforts to find common ground on health care legislation. At issue is whether to set up a government-sponsored health insurance plan, which would get federal money for start-up costs, but then be financed through premiums. The two largest insurance groups warn in a letter to lawmakers that a government plan would take over the system. Obama today scoffed at the notion as illogical. He says the
insurance companies argue on the one hand that "the marketplace
provides the best quality health care." So he says he doesn't
understand why they'd think that "government, which they say can't
run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business." The insurers' letter argue "a government plan would use its built-in advantages to take over the health insurance market." Obama, however calls it "an important tool to discipline insurance companies."