October 10th, 2009
11:25 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama highlights 'consensus' on health care reform

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In his weekly address out Saturday, the president discusses health care reform and mentions some prominent Republicans who have come out in support of reforming the nation's health care system.

Read the full text of Obama's remarks after the jump.

Related: LeMieux delivers weekly Republican address

Remarks of President Barack Obama

The historic movement to bring real, meaningful health insurance reform to the American people gathered momentum this week as we approach the final days of this debate. Having worked on this issue for the better part of a year, the Senate Finance Committee is finishing deliberations on their version of a health insurance reform bill that will soon be merged with other reform bills produced by other Congressional committees.

After evaluating the Finance Committee’s bill, the Congressional Budget Office – an office that provides independent, nonpartisan analysis – concluded that the legislation would make coverage affordable for millions of Americans who don’t have it today. It will bring greater security to Americans who have coverage, with new insurance protections. And, by attacking waste and fraud within the system, it will slow the growth in health care costs, without adding a dime to our deficits.

This is another milestone on what has been a long, hard road toward health insurance reform. In recent months, we’ve heard every side of every argument from both sides of the aisle. And rightly so – health insurance reform is a complex and critical issue that deserves a vigorous national debate, and we’ve had one. The approach that is emerging includes the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats, and people across the political spectrum.

In fact, what’s remarkable is not that we’ve had a spirited debate about health insurance reform, but the unprecedented consensus that has come together behind it. This consensus encompasses everyone from doctors and nurses to hospitals and drug manufacturers.

And earlier this week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out in support of reform, joining two former Republican Senate Majority Leaders: Bob Dole and Dr. Bill Frist, himself a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Louis Sullivan, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush, supports reform. As does Republican Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. These distinguished leaders understand that health insurance reform isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue that demands a solution.

Still, there are some in Washington today who seem determined to play the same old partisan politics, working to score political points, even if it means burdening this country with an unsustainable status quo. A status quo of rising health care costs that are crushing our families, our businesses, and our government. A status quo of diminishing coverage that is denying millions of hardworking Americans the insurance they need. A status quo that gives big insurance companies the power to make arbitrary decisions about your health care. That is a status quo I reject. And that is a status quo the American people reject.

The distinguished former Congressional leaders who urged us to act on health insurance reform spoke of the historic moment at hand and reminded us that this moment will not soon come again. They called on members of both parties seize this opportunity to finally confront a problem that has plagued us for far too long.

That is what we are called to do at this moment. That is the spirit of national purpose that we must summon right now. Now is the time to rise above the politics of the moment. Now is the time to come together as Americans. Now is the time to meet our responsibilities to ourselves and to our children, and secure a better, healthier future for generations to come. That future is within our grasp. So, let’s go finish the job.

Filed under: Congress • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Wesley in the West

    At least a couple of Republicans are starting to see the light. . . . let's see if more will? Don't hold your breath.

    October 10, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Jennifer W

    It makes me very nervous that this president is so willing to shove his health care reform bill down our throats when the majority is against it. I believe that this will backfire in the end for him. As a 9/12 marcher I was proud of how my fellow concerned Americans came out in full force to show Washington we wont stand idly by and let them get away with their private agendas. Do you hear us now Washington? You better, 'cuz we're gonna flip that house next year!!

    October 10, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. New Yorker

    These Republicans he mentioned support reform, yes, but not the kind of reform Obama would like to impose on us. Nice try; making it seem like conservatives support your plan for Socialism.

    October 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. joann

    President Obama keep doing what you are doing!!!

    The haters get mad with everything you do...even if you wake up in the morning they are mad.....

    You are protected by God's grace!!!! The haters just don't get it!!!

    October 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Death Panel Sarah

    Had to use the 'former' congress members because they aren't getting paid by the insurance industry!!!

    October 10, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Enough

    Get over it already.........this is a terrible plan and we don't want it. Throw it out and start over with a little common sense. Tort reform and insurance reform are the areas that need to be worked on, to make insurance affordable and available for all to purchase. 53% of us cannot afford to pay for the other 47%, everyone needs to purchase their own health care, nothing is free. Quit telling us lies about how you are going to cut 500 billion from medicare, it isn't the truth and can't be done.

    October 10, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. JT the concerned College Freshman from MO

    I know a way that we can achieve true health care reform in the United States. How about we work together as Americans as our founding fathers intented for us to do to begin with. Just to let you know, personally, I believe that competition is the foundation idea of Capitalism. If we have free choice in our healthcare system, then we can truely call our selves the free nation of the world. Being forced to choose only one (Private) is Socialism to me. All I am trying to say is competition and free choice is the foundation of the very idea of Capitalism. CNN, post this.

    October 10, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Nadeem

    This may be the best statement from the Pres. yet on healthcare reform.

    With prominent GOPers supporting it:

    – Arnold
    – Bill Frisk
    – Bob Dole

    and Micheal Bloomberg, an independants independant., the current GOP in the senate do look petty indeed.

    October 10, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. pala6

    For once, law makers, please stop the greed and help Obama and the poor Americans. These Americans have given every thing to the Govn. and the big corps. Now is the time American power house to help poor to help yourselves for future.

    October 10, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. lyn from Osoyoos,B.C Canada near the American border

    This President is working very hard each day for every American,for the people who continue criticizing with what ever our President do or say or just get an award please stop enough is enough, let us all work together for our country for our people. Thank you President Obama, and congratulations for winning the Nobel Peace award.

    October 10, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Librals make me want to puke

    interpretation: Despite the FACT that creating federal health care insurance is a violation of the CONSTITUTION, that I swore to uphold...Despite the FACT that as a lawyer, I would NEVER consider TORT reform targeting bullcrap malpratice suits...Despite the FACT that I will not even consider looking into Medicare and Medicaid fraud nor make it mandatory for myself, unions, congress to accept this as their own plan...Despite the FACT that this will enslave our future generations in debt...Despite the FACT that as a LAWYER I know full well that illegal immigrants will be eventually covered under current precident setting decisions from the federal courts in CA...we are going to cram this thru whether you like it or not....

    October 10, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The GOP's cooperation in health care bill has won a lot of accolades for their fear-mongering and fiercely flame-feeding fillips to the
    anti-left protagonists. These bunch of no-good neanderthals need no lessons from those nihilists who never care about the overall welfare of the downtrodden.

    October 10, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Michael

    The Republicans with the mindset of tarnishing the president for political reasons have lost contact with how they should behave as the minority party (as of now). They should give honor when something like this happens (especially when the occurred frankly out of the blue) and note their intent to lead this country in a manner of honor and with strong intent within their conservative views to the betterment of the nation.

    Instead they proceed with fiery speech intended to whip up their most conservative (and again frankly out of touch base) to stir up anger to oppose Obama...They need to figure out a better strategy. Oppose, but do so in a constructive way....

    Michael in Tucson

    October 10, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Baylee

    Until my son had to have surgery, I didn't understand how bad our health insurance is in this country. After $80,000 dollars plus I now understand. I can't imagine people without insurance having to deal with this unexpected cost. As a republican I am seriously considering changing partys unless my fellow republicans in washington start acting like adults to solve this problem instead of scaring uneducated rednecks who don't know any better. It's time to reform our healthcare system and everyone needs to act like adults for the sake of the American people.

    October 10, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. No Hillary = No Obama

    I don't think Obama expected that months down the road he would still be trying to shore up support for his grand health care plan. This "cart before the horse" style of running a country is beginning to feel more hollow by the day. This is the price this country is paying for making someone a heroic figure based on the color of their skin.

    October 10, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. yuri

    The GOP group of grief-givers will soon be winnin' a lot of accolades for their fear-mongerin', and fiercely flame-feeding fillips they offered to a lot of no-good neanderthals. Those goons need no lessons from any nihilist for their nefarious activities.

    October 10, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Clay

    Last week my sister-in-law's mother was removed from intensive care in the hospital and relocated to a nursing home because she didn't have insurance. She died the next day. Don't tell me we don't need health care reform. This never would have happened if we had the public option. Thanks to all the idiot republicans who killed reform during the Clinton years: you just killed my sister-in-law's mother as well.

    October 10, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Censorship in Practice form at CNN--S Callahan NYS

    I'm all for Health Care 'reform' but it has to be done right and not on the sly.....there is a three year gap on cost..a ploy some say former Pres. Bush used for the medicare medication program (which is not really a ploy since he did)...basically, the cost is higher than will be publicly projected. This citizen says Keep it honest...that is where the good results will come from...deception always rears it's ugly head eventually and truth always finds a way to rise up.

    October 10, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. D. Tree

    In the end, no one can say Obama is not trying to reach across party lines. Its too bad the Republicans have made a political calculation to obstruct him on everything – regardless of how it hurts America.

    October 10, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Mauiharper

    Health Care Reform is meaningless without the public option. Don't give in to the GOP and Blue Dirty Dogs who take huge sums from the insurance PAC's to prevent real reform. They're up to their diert tricks as usual and the American people have paid enough for their lies and deception already!

    October 10, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Pragmatic

    Hat's off to President Obama for trying to work with the republicans who decided, as a party, the night he was elected, to be the party of "no" and "obstruction" ... putting the best interests of the American people way at the bottom of their priorities. The GOP had their chance in the last administration to show what they could do to reform health care ... they did nothing: "stay the course!" and "kill Grandma" ... just fear and smear – as usual.

    October 10, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. stevegee

    The only consensus in this country is that The Baucus Bill is a "bill of goods"!

    All it will do is further the growth of government - I can't wait to have bureaucrats making healthcare decisions for me and my family, NOT! And, it will add to the unsustainable debt built up by irresponsible elected officials.

    We could have real healthcare reform IF we eliminated 3rd party payers, and went back to a true freemarket system - when you go to the doctor, you pay, just like every other service we use in this country (car repair, dry cleaners, etc.). And people should carry catastrophic health insurance, like life insurance and car insurance.

    It's common sense, and it's called freedom and liberty: Let individuals take care of themselves, without relying on government. More government involvement will only make our healthcare system sicker.

    Don't buy The Baucus "Bill of Goods"!

    October 10, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. US territories deserve health care

    Illegal aliens in the 50 states get emergency medicaid, but relatives of servicemen who are American citizens living in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam are deserving of the same access all all other American citizens.

    Please include the American islanders in reform.

    October 10, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. mark

    He should highlight the fact that people are in agreement against a public option and do not want the government dictating their health care...

    October 10, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Precious

    Why can't we do things the "American way". Why does everything now has to be "historical". We already have healthcare in this country, and all we are doing is trying to make it better! If Democrats are the one in POWER and they are the ones who "WON" and has the majority to bring "change" to this country, then what is the hold up? Why does the President of the USA has to keep "campaining" all the time to pass a plan that the DEMS believe is in the best interest of the citizens of America, and the one who holds the "key" to the future of America. I believe they want to bring the Republicans on board so when things go wrong, the can always share the blame. Politics is politics, and that will never change.

    October 10, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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