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« NC Sen Poll: When Will Dems Overtake Burr? | Blog Home Page | Pawlenty Slams Health Care, Won't Endorse In Primaries »

White House Takes Issue With Dean Criticism

New White House communication director Dan Pfeiffer is responding directly to Howard Dean's critique of health care legislation, posting on the White House blog that the Senate bill is hardly a "dream for insurance companies."

If that's the case, though, it must be news to them. The insurance industry has been leveraging its considerable resources in a ferocious effort to defeat this bill, including producing a report the day before the Senate Finance Committee vote that was so misleading the firm behind it had to walk away from it. And that's not surprising, because this bill will finally wrest power away from the insurance industry and put it in the hands of American consumers.

...

It's also important to remember that, while none of us are shedding any tears for the insurance industry, the primary goal of health insurance reform isn't to punish insurers - it's to give every American the ability to find affordable coverage while controlling the unsustainable cost growth in our current health care system that is crushing families and businesses. On that front, this bill is hugely successful.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs has already taken a number of questions on Dean's comments as well. At one point in today's briefing, he argued that no "rational person" would claim that killing the bill now is a good idea. That prompted an immediate follow up to ask if Gibbs was charging that Dean is "irrational," which he said was not the case.

Dean had been largely supportive of the legislation as it worked its way through Congress this year, even if he conceded it wasn't perfect. But of late it seems there have been one too many compromises for his taste. In April, Dean did say to RCP that Obama should not back down on the public option. "If it doesn't [have the public option] all we have is the same old stuff, and I don't think it's worth spending $634 billion on what we've already got," he said.