August 8th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama slams 'outlandish rumors' on health care plan

(Full text as provided by the White House)

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, August 8th, 2009

On Friday, we received better news than we expected about the state of our economy. We learned that we lost 247,000 jobs in July – some 200,000 fewer jobs lost than in June, and far fewer than the nearly 700,000 a month we were losing at the beginning of the year. Of course, this is little comfort to anyone who saw their job disappear in July, and to the millions of Americans who are looking for work. And I will not rest until anyone who’s looking for work can find a job.

Still, this month’s jobs numbers are a sign that we’ve begun to put the brakes on this recession and that the worst may be behind us. But we must do more than rescue our economy from this immediate crisis; we must rebuild it stronger than before. We must lay a new foundation for future growth and prosperity, and a key pillar of a new foundation is health insurance reform – reform that we are now closer to achieving than ever before.

There are still details to be hammered out. There are still differences to be reconciled. But we are moving toward a broad consensus on reform. Four committees in Congress have produced legislation – an unprecedented level of agreement on a difficult and complex challenge. In addition to the ongoing work in Congress, providers have agreed to bring down costs. Drug companies have agreed to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. The AARP supports reform because of the better care it will offer seniors. And the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association, which represent the millions of nurses and doctors who know our health care system best, all support reform, as well.

As we draw close to finalizing – and passing – real health insurance reform, the defenders of the status quo and political point-scorers in Washington are growing fiercer in their opposition. In recent days and weeks, some have been using misleading information to defeat what they know is the best chance of reform we have ever had. That is why it is important, especially now, as Senators and Representatives head home and meet with their constituents, for you, the American people, to have all the facts.

So, let me explain what reform will mean for you. And let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That’s simply not true. This isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance. Under the reforms we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.

And while reform is obviously essential for the 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, it will also provide more stability and security to the hundreds of millions who do. Right now, we have a system that works well for the insurance industry, but that doesn’t always work well for you. What we need, and what we will have when we pass health insurance reform, are consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and that insurance companies are held accountable.

We will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms, colonoscopies, or eye and foot exams for diabetics, so we can avoid chronic illnesses that cost too many lives and too much money.

We will stop insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history. I will never forget watching my own mother, as she fought cancer in her final days, worrying about whether her insurer would claim her illness was a preexisting condition. I have met so many Americans who worry about the same thing. That’s why, under these reforms, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage because of a previous illness or injury. And insurance companies will no longer be allowed to drop or water down coverage for someone who has become seriously ill. Your health insurance ought to be there for you when it counts – and reform will make sure it is.

With reform, insurance companies will also have to limit how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. And we will stop insurance companies from placing arbitrary caps on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime because no one in America should go broke because of illness.

In the end, the debate about health insurance reform boils down to a choice between two approaches. The first is almost guaranteed to double health costs over the next decade, make millions more Americans uninsured, leave those with insurance vulnerable to arbitrary denials of coverage, and bankrupt state and federal governments. That’s the status quo. That’s the health care system we have right now.

So, we can either continue this approach, or we can choose another one – one that will protect people against unfair insurance practices; provide quality, affordable insurance to every American; and bring down rising costs that are swamping families, businesses, and our budgets. That’s the health care system we can bring about with reform.

There are those who are focused on the so-called politics of health care; who are trying to exploit differences or concerns for political gain. That’s to be expected. That’s Washington. But let’s never forget that this isn’t about politics. This is about people’s lives. This is about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future. That’s what is at stake. That’s why health insurance reform is so important. And that’s why we must get this done – and why we will get this done – by the end of this year.

Thank you.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Dave, Central Illinois

    Well, all Obama has to do is send in some more union thugs like the SEIU members who beat a black conservative in St. Louis. The victim's crime was daring to hand out materials at a town hall meeting contrary to Obama's and Pelosi's takeover of the Healthcare industry. I bet you won't hear much about that from the Obama media. There is footage of it on Youtube.

    August 8, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. William Spivey

    Mr President, keep trying and I will keep supporting you. My father used to say "Never argue with a fool, Noone knows the difference"

    August 8, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Larry

    How many Republicans have stated they want to see this admninistration fail?

    Evidently Washington's failure is their success? That's interesting. What will they do if this country fails?

    I had no idea Republicans were such stupid people, but then again look at the membership.

    August 8, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    Insurance companies and Big Pharma are going to pour billions of insurance premium dollars into fighting this. Those dollars should be going to services and coverage, but instead end up in the pockets of advertisers and politicians. And that is just sickening.

    August 8, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. AstroTurf This

    It is a little ridiculous to talk about the economy "turning around" and pushing an agenda to takeover the healthcare industry at the same time given that the CBO has said without doubt this will be a disaster for the economy and not help lower costs. This healthcare bill would be a quagmire for fraud. Instead of instructing thugs from SEIU to attack the Americans asking questions and opposing his policies he needs to LISTEN. Obama knows better than to suppress the opposition. He himself was a protestor and community organizer. This is a partisan attack and takeover of 1/6 of the economy and Obama is a LIAR. Read the bill. The facts are in videos where he speaks in his own words his progressive agenda. This is socialism and it's ugly and the American people do not want it.

    August 8, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. MomofFour

    It is a scary, scary, scary day in this country. We have a weak president who has no control whatsoever of the far-left element of his party. They are stampeding their way through government and taking us straight to bankruptcy and the liberal media is just watching it happen. This is socialism. The Banks, Insurance, Cars, Housing, Energy and now Healthcare. Organized crime has taken over our country.

    August 8, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Royster

    Quote from Obama from this article:

    "So, let me explain what reform will mean for you. And let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care"

    Now go read Sarah Palin article where she spouts these exact same outlandish rumors......again and again, although she obviously knows as she says the words, that they are not true.

    ...and the GOP denies they are manufacturing hateful opposition to health care reform?? Stating false facts repeatedly cannot be mistaken for anything else. Obviously having an actual dialogue with Obama and the Dems intimidates Palin and the GOP so much, they only feel comfortable on the side yelling no,no.

    August 8, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. mother and sister of a soldier

    He is the great community organizer and he can make you believe anything UNLESS you read and do the research. You can either be smart and get the information yourselves or stand in line for the Kool-Aid.

    August 8, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Sqs1

    We are lucky to have him as our President.......He may not be perfect, but he truly cares and is doing everything he can to make life better for ALL Americans......Unfortunately, the bottom line is there are racist and old school political undertones that are fighting to keep this country "status quo".........WONT WORK!!! Keep up the good job Mr. President!!!!

    August 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. HJA

    I'm sorry but when the GOP uses misinformation as they do they are exactly like the Nazi's. no doubt about it Joseph Gerbels would be proud to be a Republican. So would Adolf, Herman, Heinrich and the whole party. We need laws so when you lie to the public, regardless of party, you go to jail. GOP? Never again.

    August 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. ron

    I truly great man and President.

    Stock market up to highest level this year.
    Taliban leader in Pakistan dead.
    Jobless claims down by 2/3.
    Journalist freed from North Korea.

    Just this week people!!!

    Yes We Can!!!

    August 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Henry Miller

    What Obama wants and what the Liberal nuts actually writing the legislation want are very different things. Some of them have actually admitted that they think of their health care insanity as just a "first step," with more extreme things–like the abolition of private insurance–to be imposed later.

    Obama may actually be telling what he perceives as the truth–but he's not the only one with a voice, and, being a politician, anything he says will be true for, at best, only a short period of time.

    August 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. MVDCT

    Lies, lies, all lies.

    August 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Brian in PA

    About time. The greedy insurance lobbyists and "fear is good" right-wingers have been slandering reform and reformers for too long. (not surprising, since most are on unlimited government plans with no "pre-existing condition" nonsense). Obama will finally get reform through Congress, and create a healthier and more secure American public.

    August 8, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. chubby

    How can obama slam what people are saying about his health care plan when he has admitted he has not read it. Another attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. I suppose the next step would be, he will want to send his union busters not only to town hall meetings but to the homes of those who oppose him. Come on, send one to my house.

    August 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. scott

    GOP has a plan...misinformation and Fear. Other than that its am empty -outdated party not capable of leading in this Diverse World

    August 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Finally!

    This is what it sounds like when people stop fear-mongering, and actually work for what is best for America.

    August 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. Simmy

    Thank you, President Obama.......The truth will rise from the earth and dispel every lie being told by the Mobster Opposition Party (MOPS)....Their dart coming from the Warped-Individual-Torting-Colorful-Heresy from AK, reveals how deeply they have looked into Russia's eyes and seen their souls.....Keep the faith, Mr. President.....God is with you.....You can't fail.......

    August 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. 60's survivor

    Speaking of Palin: "There are those who are focused on the so-called politics of health care; who are trying to exploit differences or concerns for political gain." – in a "NUT shell" so to speak!!

    August 8, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. marc

    Yes We Can!!!!! and We will, health care for everyone is a human right...but we need not to rush because it is a serious issue, by the end of this year is doable... let's support Health care for everyone, the 46 millions uninsured and let's not forget the 25 millions who have health insurance but still cannot afford a doctor. WE SAY NO TO THE STATUS QUO BUT YES WE CAN TO REFORM!!!!!!

    August 8, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. pat c

    I trust this man with all my heart. if people would listen to him and not be scared off from his republican haters they would realize this man is trying to help us gain a better life. i am shocked at the ignorance of the american public for accepting such lies an garbage that is being made up by the racist haters that just want to see barack obama fail simply because he is black. i am white and embarrassed by some of the ignorant comments made on this blog openly showing hatred for our president.

    August 8, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. 60's survivor

    FOX news is currently brainwashing the suseptable and actually doing a great job. I know I try to speak to them about the real options – and they glaze over.. is FOX news some sort of a cult???

    August 8, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. beevee

    It is for the president and his party to allay the fears sparked in american public's mind by special interest groups and the GOP conservatives about the health care reform. if the public understands clearly that it does not threaten the healthh care plans that many americalns may already have but helps reduce their costs and may be premiums by stopping the monopoly of some private companies by creating some healthy competition. Is'nt it very capitalisitc? As long as the public does not comprehend what the reform is all about and the long term benefits of it to their children and grand children they will be uneasy and supscious of government's intentions.

    August 8, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Chenna Benna

    The President need to make this debate personal. He needs to talk about the individuals out there with and without health insurance who have had their share of difficulties with our current system. Many people out there have been denied coverage by their current insurance company or can't see a doctor because they don't have insurance. The President and groups who support reform need to put these individuals stories out there and should have a website like that give truth about health care reform. The GOP and conservative groups want to derail reform by spreading lies and the best way to combat that is with the truth.

    August 8, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. maria

    Ignorance is bliss, there are people who know nothing about the health plan, and don' have or their family members don't have insurance who are against the health care plan. I think this so call great country should look at other countries that have a successful health care plan that have worked for years and take the parts that work. If you don't want the health care plan you must have insurance and if you are happy with it keep it. But this is for the non insured and under insured..
    Insurance companies have been for years deciding who lives or dies and what they will or won't pay, these are not medical people but business people who could care less about you.
    If this country finally passes a health care bill i hope they have provisions in it that won't allow people from other counties ( Mexico) to come and take advantage like they did with welfare and Medical. If you don't live in this country, just like the other countries who are not going broke like us, you don't receive services.

    August 8, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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