Jonathan Chait

Best Moment Of The Summit So Far: Obama On Cheap-o Health Insurance

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President Obama has launched a discussion about minimum benefits. Republicans have focused on the general principle of choice, competition, and getting Washington out of the way. Obama keeps bringing those principles back to Earth and explaining what it means. He has a good anecdote about having bought cut-rate car insurance, getting rear-ended, and then calling up the insurance company to get reimbursed and having them laugh in his face. Obama wouldn't name the company, but he calls it "Acme Insurance Company," a name the returns to later.

Obama explains how cut-rate insurance plans force people to pay high deductibles and don't cover all sorts of treatments. Republicans just come back at him with rhetoric about regulation and big government. Then Obama points out that everybody in Congress has good insurance with the kind of minimum benefits he proposes. If they tried to switch Congress over to Acme-type insurance, "there would be a riot." He doesn't see anybody in Congress looking to take advantage of the kind of "choice" Republicans say is so important.

It's a very effective rebuttal.

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