Illustrating once again that the newest research must tell Democrats to find a health care bogeyman and beat the mess out of him in order to get their government-centric health care reform passed, Nancy Pelosi lit into insurance companies today at her weekly press conference with some seriously scathing rhetoric: (Clarification: The first statement below came in separate remarks to reporters today, not in her press conference. The second statement came from the presser.)
"It's almost immoral what they are doing," Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. "Of course they've been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure," she said, adding, "They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening."
"They are the villains?" Sounds like someone took her messaging memo a tad too literally. She also characterized insurance companies' tactics in the debate in pretty over-the-top war terminology not usually used for mere lobbying efforts: "Insurance companies are out there in force, carpet bombing, shock and awe against a public program."
Rep. John Boehner, speaking at his press conference, spoke up for Pelosi's "villains:"
"There are hundreds of health insurance companies out there today that provide a service.
They're certainly not lily white in this fight, but most Americans like their coverage, and what they want is lower prices."
Update: Who got the most "villainous" money from HMOs in the 2008 cycle, I wonder? It must have been John McCain, right? Republicans are always in the tank for those guys.
He also got more than $2 million from insurance companies (a group that encompasses "health, life, property and car insurance companies, agents and brokers"), which was about at parity with John McCain, who received slightly less than $200K more.
Nancy Pelosi herself is in the top 20 House recipients of "insurance" contributions this cycle, and insurance companies are her 10th-most frequent contributor over the span of her career.