Speaking about health care on Tuesday, Gov. Howard Dean said the media "hate that they can't take down Obama, so they're using every Republican talking point to try." According to Dean, health reform is "doing very well."
Dean, a physician who is closely involved with the issue politically, emphasized the importance of a public health care option to compete with private insurers. A bill without such a provision is "not worth passing" as it would not control costs, he argued, at a conference hosted by Campus Progress in Washington, D.C.
"Let the American people choose" between private and public medical care, he said, claiming that a public option would force private insurers to get their act together.
Dean accused Republicans of being "enemies of reform" and didn't take kindly to Sen. Jim DeMint's admitted desire to kill the bill as a way of hurting Obama. On passing the bill, he said "if we have to do it through reconciliation, let's do it."
Private insurance is "not only expensive, it's killing the country," he said. "It's a job crusher and we're losing jobs to Canada -- let alone China and India -- because businesses are crippled by health care costs."
"We don't have a health care system in this country," Dean continued. "What we have is a shell game, much like Wall Street, so that businesses can make money." He supported the idea of businesses making money, but opposed their doing so while hurting the country.
Asked about James Love's allegation on HuffPost that Dean was a "shill" for biotech, Dean laughed it off, defending the importance of the industry but saying "I'm a shill for real health care reform."
In response to a question posed by the Huffington Post about what might help the bill get votes of on-the-fence lawmakers, Dean urged the youth to be active in pressuring their representatives to support solid reforms. "This is not Congress's bill," he said. "This is your bill. It's our bill."
"The only thing a politician cares more about than money is votes. So if a politician is in the pockets of special interests, it's because you're not speaking loud enough," he concluded.