Sen. Jim DeMint says President Obama’s plan to set up a quasi-government cooperative at every state level to compete with individual insurance companies makes “absolutely no sense” and is a “fairly elaborate hoax.”
Appearing on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto” Monday, DeMint, author of “Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide into Socialism,” said whatever the government calls its public option plan to reform healthcare, it essentially is more government control.
“Whatever they call it, this is a government takeover,” the South Carolina Republican said. “They may try to call it a co-op, they can call it a public option, but you know [Obama team members] are all on record saying they want a single-payer government system.”
DeMint hopes Republicans can stop Obama’s plan to take over the healthcare sector of the economy and start over with real reform. All government has to do is take away the barriers to interstate competition and force insurance companies to compete with hundreds of companies all over the country, he said.
“A number of us have been talking about ideas that we know would work. But, unfortunately, this administration and the Democrat majority, they really don't want insurance reform at this point. What they want is more government control of our healthcare system.”
Obama, facing pressure from supporters to talk more about the moral imperative to provide health insurance to all Americans, probably will shift his pitch in September in an attempt to regain control of the healthcare debate, White House and Democratic officials told the Wall Street Journal.
But DeMint said that, even taking the Democrats at face value that they are willing to nix the public option, co-ops are in fact a public option.
“They are a government-sponsored enterprise or, what I call, Fannie Med in every state.”
Earlier in the week, the president's more liberal backers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, said the public option is still the best for the healthcare reform bill.
“I don't think it can pass without the public option,” Dean said during an appearance on CBS. "There are too many people who understand, including the president himself, that the public option is absolutely linked to reform.”
“It is clear Howard Dean wants the Senate to pass anything so that it can go to conference with the House — so they can rewrite the bill the way they want,” DeMint said, adding that any Republican senator who helps Obama “pass something with a government stamp on it, the way they are talking about, is just betraying the American people.”
DeMint fears the House will have the public option in the final bill it sends to the president's desk. Because the Democrats control the conference between the House and the Senate, they can write the bill with the public option, he said.
“Then it is almost impossible for us in the Senate to stop it. And, of course, the House can pass anything with a simple majority.”
DeMint suggested that the concern Pelosi, Dean, and other liberal Democrats have that Obama has given up on the public option is deceptive.
Later, on Fox News’ “On the Record,” DeMint reiterated that the offer of a cooperative proposal to replace the administration’s public option plan is just a a hoax. He compared healthcare co-ops to a Trojan horse and told host Greta Van Susteren that Obama, Barney Frank, and the Democrats “didn't think the American people were going to look under the hood on this bill, but we have.”
DeMint pointed out that Obama is on the run because of the backlash against his healthcare reform plan and that the president is trying to use rhetoric to keep people confused.
“The fact is, we know the holy grail for Democrats for years has been government-run healthcare,” DeMint said, “but, just as in Barney Frank's [town hall] meeting — and all over the country — American's are upset about the direction here and they are speaking out. I think we have a chance to stop it as long as the American people are engaged.”
Other observations DeMint made regarding healthcare reform include: He doesn't know who wrote the House version of the healthcare bill The House version includes a lot of pages that refute just about everything the Obama is saying about the plan He doesn’t know what is going to come out of the Senate, but it can't pass its version without Republican votes He believes several Democrats will come back from the August break with a different mind-set about the bill because what they say is in it isn’t If the Democrats get their way, people will lose their private health insurance, there will be higher taxes and Medicare will be cut
“It's just not adding up for the American people and I think we see it in the polls almost every week. The president's approval rating is going down; people don't want a government-run plan. The shame of all this is that there are good ways that we can get people insured and lower the cost of health insurance, but they're not even willing to talk about it unless we are talking about a government plan.”
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