Durbin makes dollars-and-cents case for health reform

March 7, 2010 2:52:13 PM PST
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says that if a federal health care reform bill is passed, it will severely restrict the ability of insurance companies to raise prices.Durbin says between 2000 and 2008, premiums paid by families rose three times faster than wages, and in some cases, up to 10 times faster than health costs.

The senator says a final health care bill will end an anti-trust exemption that Durbin says allows insurance companies to legally fix prices.

However, the U.S. Senate's Republican leader says consumers are not buying what Democrats are selling.

"We're gonna start watching them more closely and requiring them to spend a higher percentage of premiums collected for actual medical care. The party's over," said Durbin.

"They see a bill that cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars, that raises taxes by half a trillion dollars, and that almost certainly will raise the cost of insurance for those on the individual market," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican minority leader.

Pres. Barack Obama's goal is to pass a health care bill by March 18.