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. Mary

    Mr. President – I think the ONLY reason you are driving like a mad man with this health care issue is to show "your voters" that you are doing "something" in the white house. But in the end you are hurting not only "your voters" but ALL of us. This is not the "American" way of doing things.

    Take that stop watch off and destroy it and do the job WELL – you are not running a marathon!!!!

    August 8, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. jasmine

    Will the "emperor" PLEASE put on some clothes.
    Get this clown off the streets.

    August 8, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. dede ebaabe

    I write to inform you that president obama is doing a good job.If you look into the health insurance reform,you will find out that it is based on people's live,people's business,and this is legacy and not politics of health reform.
    It is an honest proposal.
    May God be with him and the american's.
    And the republicans should understand that they have caused the world a whole lost of problems,misunderstanding through their philisophy that can only increasely one at odds.

    August 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. B. Szakacs

    Palin's irresponsible comment on Obama.s healthcare plan is outrages, and it shows who's pay role she is on.

    August 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Obama is a Mistake

    I do not trust this man. No one should.

    August 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. Peoples Voice

    Keep up the good work, Mr President. We still believe we can do it.

    August 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. ib

    How does Obama know they are outlandish when even he admits he doesn't know what all is in the bill. If he thinks the brakes have been put on the recession he's dumber than I thought he was. If the cap and trade scam goes through then you will have a despression instead of a recession.

    August 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Felly

    President Obama, keep doing a good job and focused as usual. For we are behind you. You are being vindicated.

    August 8, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. The Teester

    You go Barack , di ti baby and let those Republican naysayers and the party of "No" yet again, (as in medicaire years ago) go down in history as short-sighted and wrong.

    August 8, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. mjm

    "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."

    If your employer decides to switch from BCBS or United Healthcare to the public option you will loss your health care plan. Plain and simple. If your current doctor does not except the public option insurance, you will either pay cash or find a new doctor.

    How do I know? Because I'm a doctor. Employers will change insurance from BCBS to United Healthcare from time to time. The employees have no say in it. If they change to insurance we don't accept, the patient is now a cash patient.

    Obama is the one lying. You will loss your insurance and your doctor if your employer decides to make the change.

    August 8, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. rick

    Nobody wants to give free insurance to 20 million illegals and welfare recepients !!

    May God have mercy on each one of us.

    August 8, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Michael

    Amen, Mr. President! It is amazing to me how many of these foaming extremists argue that anything you've said it doesn't make a heckuva lot of sense. It's time for people to stop listening to those who have something to lose through health care reform (i.e., the insurance industry) and think about what we as individuals and a country have to gain.......because the height of insanity is expecting something better while doing the same old things.

    August 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Anonymous

    I wonder why CNN could not wait for a day so that the good news about job rates could be consider when rating the president.

    I give him an A+. To you CNN, from a B to a F. However, if you were to rid yourselve of old wooden teeth mad dog lou dobss it could rebound to a C.

    August 8, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Jim

    Obama's statements that universal health care costs will be offset by elimination of inefficiencies in current health care systems remind me of the old joke about the car dealer taking a loss on every car, but making it up by the large volume of sales!

    August 8, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Peter Sampson

    Once again, the President speaks logically and calmly with a measured tone. Unfortunately, we may expect that once again his nuanced expression will fall on deaf ears among the ideologues of the right. Sarah Palin, for example, simply has her facts wrong on healthcare reform. But is it intentional or accidental?

    August 8, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. MomofFour

    Never in my life time did I imagine the President of the USA would call on an organized party to ATTACK normal citizens who are concerned and upset over the government takeover of something this important to Americans. The DNC has lost control of itself. The liberal news media should be ASHAMED of itself. This is not IRAN!!!! How DARE you enable this administration. How DARE the president stand there and LIE to the American people. Now OFA is going to bus in people from SEIU and ACORN to attack the citizens. Well that's to make real good video for the opposition isn't it??? Stop to think much???

    August 8, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    I sure hope the new Health Care Plan includes a cure for stupidity.
    It is rapidly becoimg a national epidemic.

    August 8, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. mmd

    Was it planned that CNN conducted the rating of the President a day before the excellent news about the jobless rate report, somehow I don't thind so.

    I give President Obama an A+, and from a B to an F is the grade for CNN. However, if you were to rid yourselve of OLD WOODEN TEETH MAD DOG LOU DOBBS, IT WILL GO UP. WOODEN TEETH IS A RAVING FOAMING MAD DOG. Why not allow him to wear his hood and carry his cross.

    August 8, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. sunshine

    things are looking up, it's time to support our President, these STAGED hate rallies are meant to tear down America, not build it up, it's ovious the republicans want anything our President does to fail, we elected the best man for this job in such a critial time, let's do what America does best, and that is to help when there is a need, right now America needs our help and so does our President.

    August 8, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Larry

    The Republican FEAR MONGERING is absolutely disgusting

    Palins suggestion of DEATH PANELS regarding her son or the elderly is as childish as 1st grade antics

    I truly can not believe people that suggest this kind of CRAP even get the story on this or any other site

    I am truly beginning to wonder as to the intelligence of CNN readers who actually believe this stuff ...

    CNN must have an audience or they wouldn't bother printing such fiction ...

    A sad day for America ...

    August 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. MomofFour

    The OFA Obamabots are out in force. This forum has been 3 to 1 against healthcare and suddenly....All the Obamabots are online posting fake comments. This is not the's not gonna work. Go ahead SEIU and ACORN...Go attack the protestors and see what kind of support you get from the American people. There is going to a riot if this white house continues to divide the people. The American public rejects socialism and this is straight up a socialist movement taking over the government. It will not succeed. Americans will vote and you will be OUTTA THERE!

    August 8, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Dan

    What is missing from this whole discussion is the "How". How are these reforms going to be funded? How will it be managed? How will this really effect the care we have now? Who doesn't want comprehensive medical care for less? Of course it would be a relief for millions to know that no matter what they will be cared for. The questions that continue to go unanswered and the total lack of details is the cause of the backlash to our lawmakers. We are just to trust our all wise government to force through a reform that according to all sources cannot be implemented without considerable cost that is not sustainable. We already have a huge future burden on the next generation for Medicare and Social Security. We just increased the national debt with unprecedented spending that we have no plan to pay for. It is dangerously niave to believe that we can have it all at no additional cost and still maintain the level and quality of care for all. So far I hear superficial pie in the sky promises with no details of implementation. Get the message: The "how" must be answered!

    August 8, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. FD

    There wouldn't be so many rumors if we were given the details of the plan. We are expected to come on board without explanations. And our questions are not respected. It's alright for liberals to doubt the Republicans when they are in power, but now that liberals are in charge, we do not have free speech not respect.
    I am not a member of any political group and I am opposed to government run health care b/c I know all about England's plan and I

    August 8, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. barry in las vegas

    Just because Obama and the Democrats are trying to repackage the government takeover of health insurance doesn't change the language in the house bill.

    Obama can keep saying "you can keep your insurance" and "you can keep your doctor", but the house bill says "No You Can't."

    Maybe Obama should take the time to read the language in the bill – because what he is really saying is "Are you going to believe me – or your lying eyes?"

    August 8, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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