August 15th, 2009
10:14 PM ET
5 years ago

No 'silver bullet' to health care overhaul, Obama says


(CNN) - There is no "silver bullet" solution to health care overhaul, President Obama said on Saturday, but the system needs to change to avoid "a world of hurt" down the road.

"There is no perfect, painless silver bullet out there that solves everyone's problem, that gives everyone perfect health care for free. I wish there was," Obama said in a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado.

"I can't do it. Nobody can. What I can do is try to sort though what are all the options available, be realistic about where we're going on health care, say to myself if we keep on doing what we're doing, we're in a world of hurt."

If health care reform fails, Medicare and Medicaid risk going broke, state and federal budgets will be unsustainable, "and then we're going to have to make some really bad decisions where we have no good options," Obama said.

Obama's comments came in response to remarks from an audience member about the increasingly contentious tone the health care debate is taking, in Congress and in town hall meetings held by lawmakers around the country.

"Is it not time that something be done?" the man said.

In responding to the man's question, Obama also criticized opponents of health care overhaul, especially members of Congress who he said reduce the debate to scare tactics and mischaracterizations.

Updated: 10:14 p.m.

Full story

Related: Health care in America


Filed under: Colorado • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Ask not what big business can do for you but what can you do for big business

    Huh, insurance companies that are lacking in ethics? I thought that was impossible, according to Fox news all big businesses in the private sector are perfect in every way! This is utterly amazing!

    August 15, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. Mindy

    My mother recently was hospitalized. It began with a few x-rays and then off to a referred specialist. Another set of x-rays were ordered. By the time she was scheduled for an operation, 4 sets of the same x-rays were ordered. All the same. Don't tell me this isn't a racket!
    TIME FOR REFORM NOW.

    August 15, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. unshrub

    Just because some loud mouths think they own the country, they need to remember that they lost the last election and Obama won. More importantly, he is doing what the majority voted for him. I am sick and tired of those on the right who think they have a God given mandate to get their way. This country is not mob rule, and just because they may think liberals are here to destroy the country, that does not mean it is so. I love my country and I went to war to prove it. Now it is time, for those who put most of them in office to get what they asked for in the last election, and not what the minority mob thinks they have a God given right to have. Democrat politicians need to understand that those loud mouths that come to these meetings are not going to vote for them. I voted for Obama and other Democrats and I expect them to do that the majority wanted in the last election. I want everyone covered with health care, and for the record, I have good health insurance.

    August 15, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. Susan

    Last month I had health inrsurance. Today, I have been laid off and lost all benefits. Sucks to be me, but ya know what, tomorrow it'll probably be you. Sucks to be me and you huh?!?! Time for reform.

    August 15, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. JAXSON

    I had health insurance...what did I care if anybody else did? Well, today I lost my job, and guess what, no health insurance now. Today it was me, tomorrow, it will be you!

    August 15, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Lisa

    The Republican party and the insurance lobbyists will surely come out with fear and hatred to keep out health reform. They lead the sheep. Wake up America we need reform NOW!

    August 15, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. Bassman

    Pres. Obama just talked about "hope over fear" in Colorado. Was he talking about the C.B.O. report saying he was wrong about the cost, or his own M.D. disagreeing with him?

    August 15, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. Tammy

    Finally the insurance companies - AND THE HOSPITALS - all for PROFIT - are being discussed and challenged. In Canada, the hospitals are not-for-profit, there is no hospital for the rich and another for the poor. Who can afford and who cannot. How humane.

    August 15, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. Denna

    Thank you President Obama, for tackling things that need attention. The extremists, i.e., the Conservative Republicans, would have us be forever beholden to the insurance companies. But why wouldn't they? Goodness knows they make enough money from the industry. You don't want to have the government dictate your health care choices to you? Guess what? The insurance companies already do. If you don't believe me, just get really good and sick and see how friendly your insurance company will be to your needs.

    All of the people who rabidly protest don't look like concerned Americans – they look like an ugly lynch mob. If they would be more organized and respectful, they would look like they are actually concerned. Come on people, turn off that idiot Rush Limbaugh and get a clue. He doesn't care about you. He is rich and can afford to have that massive coronary that will surely get his fat a$$ someday. YOU are broke and can't afford the 'luxury' of listening to this oaf. None of these so-called conservative personalities care about you. You are a tools that keep from having to get honest work. You Fools!

    August 15, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Katie B in Clayton NC

    I'll give you tort reform if you give me a public option. Deal?

    August 15, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Lisa

    My insurance premiums are high and my company refuses to pay for anything. It's an up hill battle. So far, they have declined every single medical charge. What good is insurance if they refuse to pay?

    August 15, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. joyce

    Americans want the same insurance plan Obama and congress has. If its good for them, then its for us too.

    August 15, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. 4 and the door

    The last thing this economy needs is another drain on it's recovery. That's exactly what a new Federal Health Care bureaucracy will do even if you go on his track record and believe 30% of what he is saying.

    He still doesn't get it. The root major problem with health care in America is cost. Anyone who believes that a new Government Bureaucracy getting involved in anything can lower it's cost had better have good coverage because they need to have their head examined.

    August 15, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Ellen

    Insurance companies have poured millions of $$$ into Republican campaigns. Republicans in return have allowed them to "rape" the American public. The redicals you see screaming and stomping their feet on televised Town Meetings are insurance agents protecting their nest.

    August 15, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. T Mckinley

    The state of Alaska, Sarah Palin's state, covers approx. 600,000 square miles. It is much larger than the state of Texas. It is large enough to be a country.

    There are many people in the lower 48 who are vehemently opposed to the United States moving into the 21st century. These are the people strirring up hate on right wing radio. These are the people holding tea parties and shouting down town hall meetings.

    I have a solution. Everyone who wants to live in a country that is "free" from socialism, from labor unions, from enviromental laws, from government regulation, from racial integration, etc. should move to Alaska and seceed from the Union.

    Alaska would be the perfect place for an ultra right-wing "Walmart State," where the rich have all the money and the working class can be kept as impoverished as the rich want them to be. If the people who want to live in this kind of country desire, Sarah Palin can be President for life.

    August 15, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. BEN

    Nobodys held the insurance companies accountable for the past eight years thanks to George W. and his Republican crooks. Premiums are sky-rocketing and they don't have to payout anything. It's a win-win situation for insurance companies!

    August 15, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. Lanae

    Last month I had health insurance. Today, i don't thanks to being laid off. Tomorrow it will be you.

    August 15, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. T Mckinley

    I have a solution to the health care debate. Alaska, Sarah Palin's state, covers approximately 600,000 square miles. It is sufficiently large enough to be a country.

    Everyone who is opposed to universal healthcare, government regulation, etc., who honestly believe there is nothing wrong with the current health care system, and that the free market should dictate and control everything, should move to Alaska and then seceed from the Union.

    Alaska would be the perfect place for an untra right-wing "Walmart State." It could be a country free from government regulation, from Medicare and Medicaid, from labor unions, from public education, from enviromental laws, and from racial integation. The people of this new country could "drill baby drill" all they want to.

    If they wish, they could even have Sarah Palin as their President for life. Rush, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, Malkin, and Co. would be living in their version of "paradise."

    As for the rest of us living in the lower 48, we want to move into the 21st century. These people, who want to go back to the past, need to go to Alaska, start their own country, and get the hell out of our way.

    August 15, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. Paul

    If we don't pass healthcare reform now.....it'll never get done and then where will we all be when no one can afford insursane and insurance companies refuse to pay for claims? Support is needed now.

    August 15, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. valwayne

    Another wasted opportunity. Instead of answering questions specifically to reassure the American people Obama gives us the insurance companies as a scapegoat. And why the insurance companies and not the drug companies? Because Obama has come to a corrupt deal with the evil drug companies and they are spending $150 million to support Obamacare. What Obama needs to tell us is how many tens of billions his corrupt deal with the drug companies will cost the American people? And he is strangely silent about the lawyers? If anybody drives up health cost it is the lawyers with all their frivouls lawsuits. Tens of billions are wasted every year to protect Doctors against frivolous or mailicious lawsuits. Tort reform could save tens of billions of dollars that could go to Obamacare, but Obama says nothing? Of course the trial lawyers have spent hundreds of millions also buying off the democratic party. Another "Chicago Way" deal!!! Corrupt deals, no answers, how stupid does Obama think working Americans are????

    August 15, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. Judy from PA

    Apparently scare tactics are ok when trying to pass a stimulus bill, but not when opposing something Obama is pushing.

    August 15, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. BJC

    Obama claims this Health Ration Bill won't include illegals. Now who's going to pay for them when they go to the hospitals since NO-ONE is ever turned away from medical care? How will that help keep cost down? Lies, lies, and I"m sure more lies.

    August 15, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. elana

    Well, we certainly found out the REAL TRUTH today!!! Sara Palin, and the Republicans, along with other PUNDITS and the MEDIA are ALL LIARS!!!

    August 15, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. Moe, NY

    Preisdent Obama....I am with you 100%. I work in the health care field, and I know for a fact the private insurance companies are nothing more than men/women in a 3 piece suit without any medical background making decisions that are not in the best interest of patients.....I, personally have to fight them for needed tests, etc. I do not belive that most patients now this goes on, as it is the health care workers who are fightintg for them, Last time I called for an authorization, they (the insurance company) wanted me to complete a survey...honest...no lies here.....sick! Please President Obama....keep fighting for the American people. Finally a President who is actually for the people, Do not think CNN will print this one, but I had my anyway. Guess it depends on who is writing the colum, their political viewes, etc.

    August 15, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. John in Indy

    since when does the govt get to appropriate the standards and practices of a private, for profit company? an insurance company has a duty to perform its fiduciary responsibility for its customers as well as turn a profit for its shareholders. if they have to cover all sick people w/o regard to condition AND are restricted from capping costs, in short order the insurance company will be out of business!

    August 15, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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