Durbin Criticizes Free Enterprise: 'Created Unfairness and Injustice'

By Susan Jones | April 1, 2014 | 11:51 AM EDT

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said free enterprise isn't always best. Government must step in.

"The free enterprise system is a strong system," he said, but it "created unfairness and injustice when it came to health care, which we are addressing with this Affordable Care Act."

In passing that law, Durbin said Democrats "rejected the free enterprise approach to health care and said let's have something that basically respects families."

He also criticized Republicans for embracing free enterprise:

"Let me tell you a free enterprise idea when it came to health care. Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the free enterprise idea was this: If you were unfortunate enough in your family to have a sick baby; if your wife was a cancer survivor; if your child had diabetes, the free enterprise answer was, we will raise the cost of health insurance to the point where you can't afford it or we won't even offer it.

"That was the free enterprise idea on health insurance for millions of American families."

Durbin said another free enterprise idea was to sell insurance policies that offered limited protection and sent families into bankrupcty.

"That was free enterprise at work," Durbin said. "What we said -- let's put some sensible rules of the road in here...so we passed the Affordabe Care Act, and not a single Republican -- not one, not a single Republican -- would join us in that effort," he complained.

"The free enterprise system is the best system in the world, but there are moments when we need to step in as an American family, set some standards, set some goals."

Dubin admitted that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect and changes will have to be made --"but not a single Republican has been willing to sit down and work on bipartisan compromises and changes, not one. It's take it or leave it. And they want to walk away from it. And we're not going back to those old days."

Later, speaking about equal pay legislation, Durbin repeated himself: "The free enterprise system is good, but listen, let's be honest about it, in some aspects, it doesn't really reach the goals that we want in terms of equal opportunity in this country."

He said government must establish "a standard in America of equal opportunity."