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. Mira NYC

    I am with you Mr. president. More then ever.

    August 8, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Thomas

    I'm sorry, but this lady can't put an intelligent sentence together let alone understand health care. CNN and others, please turn the cameras off!

    August 8, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. quarterback

    Palin says the plan is evil. What an idiot.

    The greedy insurance bastards are really wanting to keep their obscene profits.

    How about we common people band together for once and tell the corporations to go have sex with themselves. Unless you got millions of bucks, to vote against this is contrary to your own economic interests.

    August 8, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    The Messiah is on record that he DOES NOT want to hear from the public and that if anyone expresses a contrary opinion that they should be immediately reported to the White House. Ordinary citizens attending town hall meetings and speaking their opinions (free speech) are now labeled as "mobs" and irrelevant because they are "well dressed" and SEEM TO BE "organized" by right wing groups (proof, please!). Apparently one can only protest if you are a smelly, sloppily dressed loony lib radical who is organized by a union,, ActUp, Code Pink, NOW, La Raza, ACLU, Daily Kos, PETA, Black Panthers, etc.

    Odd (and dangerous) perspectives from a person whose only real experience is as a community organizer! More change is right ahead...

    August 8, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. dennative1

    it's amazing the president has been in office aprox 8 mo and the economy is taking a turn for the better!! the repugs.. said he needed to take owner ship of the economy-he did and we are seeing results!!! the repugs are saying its not because of anything the president has done!! the party of NO, will pay for not working w/the president.. they continue to fight him on everything, but the war !!!

    August 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. DL

    He should slam them, it is insane some of the things the GOP are saying about health care, they are using the same fear tactics they always do and it's pitiful.
    Sadly most American's are to lazy to take the time to learn the facts themselves. Don't listen to EITHER side, go look at the health care quality in Denmark. It's ranked the best in the world by it's citizens. Do your OWN research and form your OWN opinions. Same goes for these posts here, half the negativity you read here are from people who aren't even in this country and are represented by lobbyists. Educate YOURSELF and Stop believing the lies.

    August 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Neutralizer

    You have no credibility Obambi, you're a pathological liar. You're refusing to acknowledge your own words in 2003, you want single payer health care. You touted UK and Canadian socialized medicine which is failing miserably, people die inside ambulance waiting for hospital to admit them in UK. Your own party calling your party members who question their representatives about your socialized medicine, nazi, astroturf etc etc. You told your supporters last year; "get on their face, argue with them," when your own party members did exactly just that to their fellow democrats you call them haters, bigots? What's the matter with you? Are you proud of SEIU beating up people in Russ Carnahan Town Hall Meeting? You're acting now like Richard Nixon, America will not put up with it.

    August 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Rob

    They are not rumors, only reading slightly between the lines of the legal language placed in this draft legislation. Everything that has been said is possible if this legislation is enacted. Everything in this bill is designed to funnel us into a complete Government based system over a period of time.

    August 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. None

    After all the miss information Mr. Obama has thrown on america, how can we even start to believe what he is saying about health insurance reform. Mostely no one has come up with a final scrip or plan let alone read the entire document. Rumors are all the missinformation coming out of washington,not legit questions from the "people" for answers that are never forthcoming. The change we need is truth and nothing but the truth from elected people who are there to work for the electors. Get this, YOU work for the people, not the other way around. We don't work for YOU. So shape up or ship out, get a real job and your own 401 and insurance, join the people on Social security and live under the same plans you want to put on the people. 200 million for vip airplans, really, already drowning in deficit and you want to create just a little more. No to the jet setters! Runaway spending is not cool, it is insane.

    August 8, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Dave

    Please will someone explain this to Sarah Palin that no one will kill her kids, or father and mother. For her to be a leader to make a statement like that could get a lot of people hurt or killed.

    August 8, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Claudette Siar

    The economy did not fall off the cliff and destroy the world economy on the way. It is showing signs of improvement to the average American. We still have a long way to go, however the direction is now correct and America will recover. Almost out of one war and cleaning up the terrorist in another so we can get out. Healthcare with coverage for all Americans and a public option to compete with insurance companies and therefore lower cost is a real possibility. This is all due to President Obama and his administration.

    I think Hillary said it best, "If he walked on water they would say he can not swim." Good job President Obama!

    August 8, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Va 4 Obama

    It is truly a shame when people make up stories about euthynasia for the elderly and "death squads" for the disabled (according to Sarah Palin) to again SCARE gullible Americans into believing Pres. Obama's healthcare reform is some sort of evil plot. How very, very sad the Republicans are!!

    August 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Jack

    And Chief amongst those trying to exploit this issue is Palin who fails to realize that we already enjoy a "Death Panel" called the "Free Market!" Her parents and child will always have the option of purchasing additional care beyond what a national plan would provide. Today the poor and working poor go without because they lack funding for: prescriptions, prevention, and medical.
    Don't worry, Little Miss, the rich and influential always muddle through somehow!

    August 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. CAW in MD

    It's a shame that the President actually has to waste time debunking rumors like Palin's fantasy about "death panels" and euthenasia. This is a typical Republican tactic - rename something benign (what can possibly be wrong about talking to seniors about what kind of health care they want in their declining years) and make it sound really scary (they're trying to kill seniors with a death panel!). What appalls me the most is that some people actually *believe* this nonsense.

    If you can't debate the merits of a bill (or several, there is no one "bill" on Capitol Hill right now) and have to go for visceral, emotional attacks, that should say something about the strength of the arguments against it.

    August 8, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    I'd bet Obama have not read his own health care plan or he would realize what's in it that has most true Americans riled up over it.
    And can anyone explain how losing 247,000 jobs is good news?

    August 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Its OK to lie as long as we win

    The Corporate Fascists in the healthcare industry will do and say anything to keep their bonus money and golden parachutes,while most Americans lose.

    August 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. EcoAZ

    I do not like it when public servants; especially the POTUS take positions that accuse and malign citizens who oppose his views.

    The POTUS is supposed to represent and support all citizens. Not just those who agree with him. That arrogance makes it difficult to even listen to this guy.

    August 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. johnrj08

    This is a start, but the President has been far too quiet about the fierce campaign of lies that opponents of health care reform have been barraging the public with over the last month. This is the ugliest, most misleading campaign in recent memory and the sad fact is that a lot of ignorant, uninformed people are buying it lock, stock and barrel. Of course, their underlying motivation is an inbred hatred of our president, which is probably driven by bigotry. Because of these people, the so-called townhall meetings which have been designed to provide citizens with information about the reforms being considered have turned into infantile screaming matches where nobody appears to want to learn anything. Drop the townhall meetings and put a series of television spots on the air that address each of the most outrageous lies about reform, and run them every single night, over and over again. Otherwise, this whole process is going to implode because it will have lost public support.

    August 8, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. jenn

    Health care reform opponents are the tools of the health insurance industry, whether they know it or not. They are being played with lies disseminated from top lobbying and industry firms. Worst of all, these folks are fighting hard against something that would benefit them greatly. They are shooting themselves in the foot, and they won't have the health care coverage to fix the wound!

    Health care reform will give people MORE choices and BETTER coverage. Any independent fact-checking organization like PoliFact and FactCheck will dispel the silly rumors about euthanasia and abortion that the right-wing industry shills are using to scare regular Joes away from the health care reform they need.

    August 8, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Drew

    The outright lying going on here from the top level down is scary. Anyone who has taken the opportunity to read in detail what they're trying to pass can understand that it's not only about the things highlighted – there is much more to it.

    It is political on both sides (unfortunately), it is about lives and it is about our future. That's why it's worth taking the time to find out what's involved (not just consuming other's opinions) and then doing what you can to voice your own opinion. Don't let either side lead you down their carefully crafted 'garden path'.

    August 8, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. cedgar

    Mr. President
    I have looked at and tried to understand all the bills. Sir are they intentionally written for open interpretation?
    You stated in one your interviews something about the counsel of life as being for a Living Will? I see no language referring to living wills?
    Was this then your interpretation?
    Sire I hope you are seeing my concern with all the bills having so much room for interpretation.
    I would like for your admin., in plain terms (no interpretation wiggle room) to tell me exactly what you want to reform in my health care.
    I have seen the problems we face a nation with bills passed with large room for interpretation ie..TARP 1 2 & 3.
    My health care is not open for this type of mistake.
    C Edgar

    August 8, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Considering the democrat's sick, twisted love for abortion-on-demand, is it really any surprise that their philosophy would eventually evolve into "death panels" for the sick and elderly? If this comes to fruition, who knows what will come next?.......political preference as a consideration for "healthcare worthiness?"

    (Don't laugh people. We are closer to gas chambers in this country than anybody wants to admit. Just keep voting for democrats and see what happens.)

    August 8, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Jim

    It is so ironic that CNN runs these two stories side by side. First a man genuinely attempt to change a broken healthcare system and do so with integrity. Second this crazy woman from Alaska, who refuses to understand that her 15 minutes is long over. DId she even take the time to read any of it. She is just looking for attention using phrases like "death panel"

    I am not saying the proposed health plan is perfect. It is not. But we need to change the current system. It is devastating for the uninsured, poor, elderly and disabled. It also does not serve the small businesses and working uninsured. At the least the conversation is taking place.

    If McCracky and Nutball were in office I can assure you there would be NO discussion of any kind of reform.

    August 8, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Georgia

    No one ever accused Sarah Palin of even having 1 ounce of Brains – "Death panel" of all things. The only thing dead is between her ears!!!!

    Unbelievable scare tactics to influence ignorant people.

    How much is she taking in from the Medical Insurance and Pharma companies????? Makes you wonder – doesn't it???

    August 8, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. Joan

    The health care debate is starting to get out of hand. The outlandish lies and exaggerations being spread by some on the far right are very disturbing. It seems that Sarah Palin is back to her "smear and fear" tactics too. At the town hall meetings the obstructionists are making it impossible for honest, respectful citizens to hear both sides of the matter and to voice their opinions too. The screamers and shouters have been taking away the rights of the other folks to free speech. That's not fair. There seems to be an almost "cult like" following on the extreme far right and it is kind of scary. The vast number of Republicans I'm sure are honest, law abiding, thoughtful citizens so why are they allowing these people to define their party? The Republican party seems to be slowly imploding from the inside.

    August 8, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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