Obama takes aim at insurance companies

GRAND JUNCTION: President Barack Obama on Saturday criticised what he termed as the "scare tactics" of opponents to health care reform. He told a town hall meeting "what is truly scary is if we do nothing" to solve the nation's health care problems.

Obama said Americans no longer should be "held hostage by health insurance companies" that deny coverage for various reasons.

And he attempted to deflect some of the sharpest criticism of the health care bill before Congress from those who say it would mean government control over health care system.

"I don't want government bureaucrats meddling in our health care - but the point is I don't want insurance companies' bureaucrats meddling in our health care either," Obama declared, unleashing a cheer from the audience.

Obama's focus on insurance companies, a theme of earlier town hall meetings in Montana and New Hampshire as well in recent days, was an attempted to regain the upper hand in the health care debate and deflect the impact of increasing vocal and organised critics.

The president said the current health care system and the policies of insurance companies are "hurting too many families and businesses." And he vowed to change that, predicting health care reform legislation will be passed by Congress this year.

"Because we're getting close, the fight is getting fierce" critics are fighting back with by trying "to scare the American people. "Because of all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing," he said.