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. joe m

    the same argument was made nearly 19 years ago. at that time americans were told that if reform was not passed everything would collapes. little happened then, and in fact soon after the greatest economic growth came.

    the push for reform is so improtant for the democrats b/c they must realize that they don't have any better circumstance than now. if reform cannot be passed when the democrats enjoy such a stunning majority, they must consider the question of when.

    should reform be passed. absolutely. but let us hope that our political leaders pass reform that actually aim to improve and change things, rather than something that is so completely wrapped up in political goals.

    August 20, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Still, he dances around a couple facts.

    Number one, this does not reduce the costs of health care in America. It increases them dramatically and just passes them on to the taxpayers. That's a losing strategy.

    Number two, this absolutely drives private insurance out of business. I now provide 95% of excellent health care to my employees. If my taxes are increased because of the Public Option, you can bet our company plan is changing to ObamaCare. That's just how it will work.

    August 20, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. nola

    I wish the Media would stand up and yell

    "Their is not a Health Reform Bill". At this time we have several proposed health reforms by the House and none by the Senate.

    Please people read and listen – you might just learn something.

    August 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. dennis from AKRON

    health care mandatory is just another unfulfilled tax.....besides that ..... it assaults your freedom and liberty.....this is my body not yours

    August 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    WRONG,
    Obama you are WRONG.

    Necessity is the root which you try to pass, but it is a LIE.

    WHERE ARE THE JOBS OBAMA, you LIE.

    August 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Dave in Illinois

    Since Obama's White House hasn't written the healthcare bill, I'd believe him more if he at least could say he's read it with two lawyers present to explain it as John Conyers recommended.

    President Obama's speech style is that of most demagogues; pick the most outlandish comment that could be remotely ascribed to your opponents and ridicule it and them while ignoring any rational issues that might be raised.

    August 20, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Jack in Florida

    Reform is definitely needed and a public option is mandatory to force change.
    Please people, wake up and don't believe the lies that the right wingers are feeding you.......

    August 20, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Voted4Healthcare

    Pres. Obama continues to reach out to the GOP in a respectful manner. God bless him.

    Health-care reforms are a necessity with more Americans suffering without coverage and a rise in bankruptcies due to medical bills.

    The Senate Finance Commiittee needs to move forward with this important legislation. All other areas (House commiittees and president) have done their elected duties to pass health care with a public option. It is time for the Senate to do the same for the majority of Americans who support it.

    August 20, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Cindy

    Obama's a multi-tasker... he can do more than one thing at a time.

    Our nation is still great. And it got better when Obama took office. It's so sad to see the Limbaugh peeps cutting it down so much these days, simply because they want Obama to fail.

    As much as I didn't agree with the policies of GWBush and Dick Cheney, I never wished for them to fail. It's really sad to see how low Limbaugh and his followers will go, just so they can gloat about winning.

    Healthcare Reform will pass, despite irrational obstacles. God bless the USA.

    August 20, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Kevin B

    The President as usual has made mince meat out of the shrill and lie filled arguments from opponent of health care reform or any other reform for that matter.

    The GOP unleashed a period of willful negligence, ignorance and unaccountabilty upon the american population over the past eight years and a truthful, accountable president that is actually looking out for the nations best interset is frightening to these xenophobic, extremely bigoted republicans.

    Keep up the great work Mr Obama, no ones angry, but the devil.....

    August 20, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Janet

    How about showing us those 3 million jobs you promised by the end of summer Obama?

    Then, we will let you spend time focusing on health care step-by-step and not in a massive bill you cannot even explain.

    It is the economy STUPID.

    August 20, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Reform," contrary to Mr Obama's opinion, does not necessarily mean wholesale intrusion of government into health care.

    Tort reform is a good contrary example.

    Perhaps more oversight of the insurance companies to make sure they don't cheat people with rescission and pre-existing condition scams.

    Maybe something to create more competition among insurance companies.

    None of that, however, appeals the the arrogant, suspicious, control freaks of the far left who trust no one but themselves, certainly don't trust businesses, and have a thorough contempt for the ability or ordinary people to manage their own lives.

    August 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Kevin B

    The GOP unleashed a period of willful negligence, ignorance and unaccountabilty upon the american population over the past eight years and now cashing in there chips with this lie filled jihad against the interest of all americans.

    A truthful, accountable president that is actually looking out for the nations best interest is the antithesis of these shrill, xenophobic, extremely bigoted republicans.

    Keep up the great work Mr Obama, no ones angry, but the devil.....

    August 20, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Rebecca

    We all knew that anything he attempted to do was going to be an up hill battle. He is looking forward and attempting to point us in the right direction. He is doing something! The GOP only seem interested in the next election and not at all in fixing anything. In fact they go out of their way to spread lies and create diversions to stop all progress on any issue. We look like a bunch of spoiled preschoolers to the rest of the world.

    August 20, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. annie s

    I stand with the President 100% on this issue. Anyone against his vision of health care reform simply isn't paying attention to the truth. We've been hit with outrageous lies by the conservatives in an attempt to scare people in keeping the status quo – but its ONLY the status quo that should be feared...higher and higher premiums, more rationing and denying and canceling of policies, more employers who will no longer be able to afford to offer coverage, more waste, more fraud, more taxpayer dollars to support a failing system. We can – and thanks to Barack Obama – we WILL do better.

    August 20, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Malia

    I love the hypocrisy and hubris of President Obama! First, he asked that religious symbols be covered up when he spoke at Notre Dame and Georgetown, then he went to the Middle East and said the USA is NOT a Christian country, refused to attend the National Day of Prayer, but NOW, since it may suit his needs, now he panders to the religious block for support on his government-run healthcare?

    Absolutely priceless!

    August 20, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Dean

    It's simple cancel the lavish Healthcare to all the senate and congress effective Monday. Let them be without health coverage and see how fast this plan gets passed

    August 20, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. howie

    If the present form of health care passes, the republicans will love and celebrate when they take over the house and senate in2012

    August 20, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Renee' McDuffie

    It does not matter what Obama says or does you naysayers are always going to be critical of him. Instead of blaming the President look at your Senators & Rep. that are sleeping with the enemy. Notice how much money these people get from the health insurance lobbyist. That is why some Democrats & Republicans keep spreading lies about this reform. We as American need to take a closer look our Senators & Rep. Obama is a messenger from God. We are in our last days. Read your bible and you will see that we are.

    August 20, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Just the facts please

    Its the same paid street teamers ,with the same ax to grind on here everyday,doesnt the hate get old to some of you or do you thrive and live for hate.I feel sad for your lonely little lives.

    August 20, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Rob

    The true 'matter of neccessity' is voting the Dems out of Congress in 2010, and showing this overwhelming disgrace the door in 2012.

    August 20, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. fat mamas love Obama

    We stand by our President unlike Totally Confused Morons in the state of Florida. President Obama is acting in the best interest of the citizens of this country. Whether the citizens are intelligent enough to realize that is another question altogether.

    August 20, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. Kevin B

    Ever wonder why no republican president since Teddy Roosevelt and perhaps president Eisenhower has ever taken on corporate interest on behalf of the american people when the tables tilted to far to the right.

    Because republican party opened it's arms to the bigots and the small headed in the mid twentieth century and now all party has left is the bigoted, small minded and the greedy.

    God Bless President Obama, he is the right man at the right time.

    August 20, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. SD, Michigan

    The only difference between a public option and the private system is that one operates non-profit, the other operates for profit.
    I'd like to try the first one for a change. If I like it, fine. If I'm not satisfied with it, I go back to the private one. Anybody else can do the same. Quite simple and straightforward in my mind.

    August 20, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. bozo the obama

    another day-another lie from the liar-in-chief.

    August 20, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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