August 20th, 2009
04:20 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama says reform a 'matter of necessity'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama took his health care message to talk radio Thursday, telling listeners of Philadelphia-based host Michael Smerconish that he wants to overhaul the nation's ailing health care system out of necessity rather than politics.

Appearing with Smerconish for 30 minutes on a broadcast from the White House, Obama faced some of the persistent questions of conservative Americans and others concerned that overhauling the nation's health care system will unnecessarily expand government authority and drive up the deficit.

The questions from Smerconish and the callers were offered with calm and respect, in contrast to some town hall meetings where opponents of Obama and health care legislation have angrily disrupted proceedings.

Smerconish asked about a popular conservative accusation that the government is trying to "be in everything" by pushing for a health care overhaul after effectively taking over some banks and automakers and passing the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

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Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Johnny DC

    The only reform I see as necessary is the one in which we vote you out in 2012 to save what's left of our once-great nation.

    August 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Independent

    President we are still behind you don't be moved by the naysayers who only wish for your failure and could care less about the American People

    August 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Pepou

    He is absolutely right. I cannot believe the unfounded rumors and myths circulating and so many ignorant, not to say obviously not very intelligent people, believing them. Has reason completely escaped our fellow citizens ????

    August 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Nagudcm Sugna

    The great deception of all… Liberals have everyone thinking that they are so freedom loving, but when you look under the cover it is quite different. Remember that liberals / Democrats want to increase spending and create more laws which in turn creates more government to administrate and enforce. They survive by expanding government. That means intrusion into our freedoms. Every law, be it good or be it bad, forces restrictions of some sort. Therefore, liberals / Democrats are control freaks even though they have created an image that makes one believe they are all about freedoms.

    Think about it.

    August 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Proud Member..Party of No

    Obama says reform a 'matter of necessity'..............HIS necessity, not ours.

    August 20, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Jay T.

    If Obama doesn't show some chutzpah and get solidly behind a public option, he is one and done. He looks real weak bowing to Republican loonies the way he is. And this is coming from an Obama supporter.

    August 20, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Sinclair Larsen

    Obama lies. Or that is, he just doesn't tell the whole truth which is to tear down the old white men financial structure in this country and GIVE it to deadbeats through government redistribution, Obamacare being one of his techniques of doing this. The American way is still to take care of oneself and not relying on anyone else to GIVE to you. What a disaster-in-waiting LBJ handed this country with all that giveaway several decades back and now all those people who don't want to work their way through life think they are entitled to live like rich people. Get real!

    August 20, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Regressive Party Refugee (former republican)

    The problem is Obama is trying to use logic to combat the conservative smearcasters who appeal to emotion, where facts are optional at best.

    The strongest emotion is fear, and that is the impetus behind nearly every shouted question and rhetorical squawk you see the screeching monkey conservatives bawling out in town hall meetings.

    August 20, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. joe

    This man will say anything to get what he wants and there is so much ambiguity in this bill that I am fearful that whatever he promises he can easily go back on citing the language of the bill was misunderstood.

    That said, the two main culprits to the excessive cost of health care are malpractice lawsuits and the burden the smoking population puts on the system. If Obama is serious about improving care; he should start there – then there will be enough of money for a broader system (which by the way already subsidizes the non insured).

    If Obama does not do something about malpractice costs and the smoker burden, costs will only increase, regardless of his overhaul.

    August 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Bill

    Sorry people his health care reform which should be known as government take over of the private sector, which is a fact all you have to do is go to YOUTUBE.COM and type in OBAMA 2003 and that will tell you about the real Obama and his plan.

    To bad the Media won't show there flock on tv and cable.

    Look and get the word out.

    August 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. vick

    we love you ... we got your back!!!!!! this guy is the only one not backing down from his plans.... srew the rest obama and do whats right for american people

    August 20, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Right Leaning Independent

    It needs to be overhauled but not the way you are doing it. You need a clear plan with details rather than the current bill that allows for specifics to be determined later. You are also not being completely honest about your intentions about covering illegal aliens. While the bill states that no undocumented aliens will be provided with health care, you do not mention the fact that you had a meeting on June 25th with a bipartisan panel to discuss a bill granting "legal status" for the 12 million illegal aliens and you want this passed by the end of this year or beginning of next year. Sure, we can collect taxes from them once they are legal but collecting taxes on low income wage earners will result in free healthcare since they will meet the threshold for subsidized healthcare resulting in higher costs than predicted by the CBO... The taxes collected will never cover the expenditures we will face in social programs to these folks...

    August 20, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Rob

    Yes, healthcare reform is a neccessity. But what Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the libs are trying to force through is anything but reform.

    August 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. stormerF

    Obama talks about using the waste and fraud from Medicare to start his new Health care program, Why does he not just stop the fraud and waste from Medicare first and see how much it is? The Politicians talk about cutting waste and fraud and spending that money else where. It is all our Tax Dollars,every penny they claim to find or save is tax dollars,They did not get a gift from God,it did not magically appear,it is from our taxes. We need accountability and NO more Pork Spending,it is a shame to have all the pork spending while they tell us its only a few millions,millions of our taxes,not theirs, ours.

    August 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Carlos

    Let me get this straight, obama's health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a congress that hasn't read it, signed by a pres who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is trillions of dollars in debt. What possibly could go wrong?

    August 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Mississippi Mike

    It's a matter of political necessity to him, not a matter of necessity to the rest of the nation. This reminds me of how we had to pass the stimulus package right now or else the recession would last into the fall and unemployment would reach 10% The package was passed and where are we now?

    August 20, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. a health economist

    One thing I will never get is how the GOP can get away with the battle cry of "No government controlled health insurance" when they themselves have government controlled health insurance. Our tax payer dollars covers their insurance. Not to mention how they always scream bloody murder about the government "interfering" in the free-market. I guess they are also against the "interference" of labor laws, licensure laws, consumer safety laws, anti-trust laws, usury laws, and countless other laws that the government uses to "interfere" with the free-market system.

    August 20, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Of course healthcare reform is being done out of necessity. This man is willing to commit political suicide to get this accomplished for the greater good. Every other President has run the other way. Think about it.

    August 20, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Stop Drop and Pass Bad Legislation

    Someone tell me why the PUSH from President Obama? It wasn't just a little nudge that he gave to the Congressmen. It was and still is a
    massive aggressive overactive propaganda crush against the opposition. Why? He can't handle public opinion, but he can handle
    'shaping that opinion'. He is not about the truth, but all about how to package the truth, or bury it in a bill that is an absolute abomination.

    Why? I wish someone would ask him why he rushed this through, and
    gave very little direction to anyone, and gave them a 3 or 4 week deadline? Why doesn't he want to get this right?

    Has he read the bill? Watch Gretta.. she is reading it ( and helping
    the rest of us understand it a little more). Why can't he be SPECIFIC?

    August 20, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. VGal

    I have to LAUGH at Mitt Romney who says Obama is bowing to the extreme left. WHAT A JOKE! This is coming from Republicans who BOW to RUSH LIMBAUGH???? Are they serious? Do they not know how FOOLISH they look?

    August 20, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Diane P

    tht rhetoric on these blogs is becoming so ignorant, next reform should focus on education & the use of common sense! have any of you seen the spooky Reagan commercials against Medicare??? The exact same argument almost 50 years later!! People we need to move into modern times!!

    August 20, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. VGal

    Oh – and to those posting who think health care is being RUSHED through – I guess your idea of rushed is 20+ years??? This debate has gone on since before Clinton was in office.

    If you republicans had a great health care bill – you should have passed it in the past 8 years.

    Stop being shortsighted – we can't wait for a total collapse for reform – NOR should we. That may be the republican way of doing things – just like waiting for a total economic crash – but smart Americans won't stand for it. CHANGE.

    August 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Steph

    I'm confused by the conservatives who keep talking about taxes going up under the Obama administration. So far, I've gotten a tax cut, and I'm as middle class as you get!

    What does concern me is the increasing amount of money I pay each year for health insurance. The same health insurance that decided not to pay for tests that showed I had a serious medical condition. Luckily, I got the tests anyway and paid out of pocket (and I'm slowly paying the balance I owe my doctor with monthly installments). I was able to prevent a painful and even more costly long-term treatment. So, I paid for the tests and the insurance company got the savings. AND...insurance companies get subsidies from the government right now. That makes me so angry!!!

    I want health care reform that is fair to the consumers. Right now the health insurance companies are a big money-making scam!

    By the way, kuddos to the President and Mr. Smerconish for having a civilized debate.

    August 20, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Ines

    Oh my oh my,
    where was all the outrage when the Patriot Act was enacted.
    How many pages was that? Oh about 1200 or so, did anybody read that?
    Heck no, and it passed on the Republicans watch!
    Biggest intrusion on personal freedom and liberties ever.
    Do you all know what is in that?
    The government can come and arrest you without even an explanation, for one.
    Obama is trying to fulfill a promise and he actually is open to suggestions, am still waiting on any from the opposition.
    Ines, CO

    August 20, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. JP

    Healthcare reform won't cover illegals until his immigration reform makes them legal, and they are covered. Think he won't do that think again they will vote for him after he makes them legal and they get free health insurance they will vote to re-elect him. How come the trial lawyers are more important than the taxpayers in all the proposals so far.

    August 20, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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