Republican Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) said that consumers who can only afford catastrophic coverage are some of "the best consumers of health care," a claim that President Obama incredulously questioned.
Mr. Obama pointed out that consumers with catastrophic coverage don't have the luxuries members of Congress can afford. "Would you be satisfied if every member of Congress just had catastrophic coverage?" Mr. Obama asked.
Barrasso said yes, because they would have more "skin in the game." He also said people with affordability problems often "eat too much" or do not exercise enough.
"Would you feel the same way if you were just making $40,000?" Mr. Obama pressed. "The notion that somehow for them the system is working and if they just ate a little better and were better consumers, they could manage, is just not the case."
"Members of Congress are in the top income brackets in the country," the president continued. By contrast, he said, the American people "aren't sultans." More Coverage of the Health Care Summit:Live Blog: Hotsheet Tracked the Whole Summit Point by CounterpointMarc Ambinder: The Summit was a Tie -- And That's Good News for GOPReaction and Analysis on Washington UnpluggedFact Check: The Health Care SummitObama Urges Republicans to Do Some "Soul Searching"Obama: Americans Aren't "Sultans" Who Can Afford Great Health CoverageFew Women at Health Care SummitObama to McCain: "The Election's Over"All Hotsheet Coverage