August 15th, 2009
10:14 PM ET
13 years ago

No 'silver bullet' to health care overhaul, Obama says

(CNN) - There is no "silver bullet" solution to health care overhaul, President Obama said on Saturday, but the system needs to change to avoid "a world of hurt" down the road.

"There is no perfect, painless silver bullet out there that solves everyone's problem, that gives everyone perfect health care for free. I wish there was," Obama said in a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado.

"I can't do it. Nobody can. What I can do is try to sort though what are all the options available, be realistic about where we're going on health care, say to myself if we keep on doing what we're doing, we're in a world of hurt."

If health care reform fails, Medicare and Medicaid risk going broke, state and federal budgets will be unsustainable, "and then we're going to have to make some really bad decisions where we have no good options," Obama said.

Obama's comments came in response to remarks from an audience member about the increasingly contentious tone the health care debate is taking, in Congress and in town hall meetings held by lawmakers around the country.

"Is it not time that something be done?" the man said.

In responding to the man's question, Obama also criticized opponents of health care overhaul, especially members of Congress who he said reduce the debate to scare tactics and mischaracterizations.

Updated: 10:14 p.m.

Full story

Related: Health care in America

Filed under: Colorado • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Thomas5

    Yes, but who is going to protect us from Obama's arbitrary policies?

    August 15, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Jon Krieger

    Still lying to the people's face!Obama doesn't get the message!

    August 15, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. catmom

    I wonder why people aren't talking about how Republicans have backed end of life policies as far back as the first Bush term but now since it is something in a bill that President Obama wants it is perceived as trying to kill grandma? So what is the opposition really about?

    August 15, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. ib

    This will all end because the gov. would be controlling everything and then they will decide your options. Obama needs to stay in DC and get off the campaign trail. He needs to start being a president instead of a campaigner all the time. NO GOV CONTROLL OF MY HEALTH CARE OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

    August 15, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. John in Minnesota

    I'm a small business owner "farmer", and I'm just stuck. I'm 58 years old, and have done physical work all my life. Guess what, my knees are bad, along with a lot of the rest of me. I'm trying to keep working till I'm 65! My wife is 53. Neither of us have been in the hospital, except in her case during the birth of our three kids. How about 25 thousand dollars a year! That's with one thousand dollar deductables on each of us, and a sizeable co pay. In the next five years we will spend $125000.00 on so so insurance. Who says it's not broken. The insurance industry is doing everything they can to drop us.
    What we need is a the ability to join the government workers insurance plan. I don't hear them complaining. I am willing to pick up the whole cost, but the policy must cover all of my wife, and myself.

    August 15, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. Amanda

    He is absolutely right ! Profit driven insurance companies in this country RATION health care. They deny insurance for people with pre-existing condition and the premiums keep going up. I just checked mine !

    August 15, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Reality Check

    Be wary of the Great Manipulator folks.....

    August 15, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Reform now

    America needs health care reform now if we continue to listen to republicans, most Americans will continue to file for bankruptcy because huge medical bills. If you become disabled and unable to work and your are under the age of 64 and forced to apply for Social Security disability, you will not qualify for MEDICARE (PART B & A) medical and hospital insurance for 25 MONTHS, and in most cases, you will not be eligible for medicaid.

    August 15, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. bsquared

    Medical legal costs currently account for 25% of healthcare costs and is rising faster than patient care and insurance costs. (just ask Gary) Any attempt to reform healthcare without tort reform (President Obama will veto "any limits") will lead to double digit tax increase to the middle class within a decade.

    August 15, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. DE Lynn Hobart

    Jack Cafferty,

    Recently, I received an e-mail from an old High School friend. In the email it talked about Canadian and British Health care, and how Obama's Health Care Plan would dispose of the elderly. If I agreed with this e-mail, send it on. If I did not, do nothing. I replied with the following email:

    Well, I will not do nothing. I guess I can't believe how stupid people can get. The Health Care proposals don't not say anything about Senior Citizens not being cared for. All its talking about is creating a living will, and paying the Doctor for a consultation as to how a person wants to be treated the last months or year of her or his life.

    As far as the Actress, Natasha Richardson, is concerned, nobody knew just how hurt she was; so nobody requested a helicopter. If they had realized how terribly hurt she was, they had enough money they could have hired a helicopter themselves. To blame that on to Canadian Health Care is silly and down right dishonest. Obama did not say he wanted a health care system like Canada's and England's. That is an absolute lie. It seems to me that there are enough problems in this nation. We don't have to go around making up and telling falsehoods – always making up more lies. God says he hates a liar. As I get older and older, I am beginning to understand more and more why he hates lying so much.

    I buried my mother a year ago this Summer. Believe me if I could have justified taking my mother's life the last year of her existence, I would have gladly given her an overdose of Morphine and thanked God that she was out of her misery. My family, brothers, my Mother, and Me, had sat down and discussed how she wanted to leave this world. She went into a nursing home and had decided that she would not take any of her medicines and would let the Lord take her. But instead the Nursing home pushed the drugs at her until she capitulated; so she wasted away in a Nursing home full of toxins and out of her mind the last year of her life. She could not see, nor hear at the end of her life. So she laid in Solitary Confinement – Unable to converse -Unable to watch TV – Unable to even read. As far as I am concerned, I would gladly have somebody give me an overdose of Morphine and end my life in dignity instead of how my Mother went.

    When the Nursing home called and told me that my mother was full of infection and that they would need to use massive doses of antibiotics to save her, I honored her wishes when she first went into the Nursing Home and told them to make her comfortable and allow her to go out of this world.

    Death I realize is an enemy, but sometimes it can be a blessing.

    Yes, I am angry, I am tired of the lies, I am tired of not taking care of the poor, I am tired of no health care for the poor, I am tired of the richest nation in the world not caring about her people unless they are rich.

    You might as well know, you probably have already figured out by now, I am an Independent, I vote for who I consider to be the best person. And I will never vote for a Republican, unless they start making some drastic changes – stop their lying and become honest. Hell will freeze over before I would give a vote to a Republican and their obscene morality. They wear their morality on their shirt sleeves and ask me to admire their obtuseness. You may feel righteous with their immoral morality. I do not find in the scriptures that God forces you to do right. The wheat and tares will grow together.

    So now that I have burned another bridge, all I can say is: At this moment in time I am so angry with your e-mail, that if I could, I would be spitting nails. I think that you have better send your conservative outright lies to somebody else that is dumb enough to swallow them. But don't send those trumped up lies to me. I believe that God has given me a mandate to care for the poor. If you choose to do something other, that is your business, but leave me out of your unrighteousness. Don't send me your bastardize, unholy alliance you have formed with the devil in an email to me.


    August 15, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. maddy09

    At the Montana town hall president Obama said he wasn't trying to target all insurance companies. He used Aetna as an example of a company he wasn't targeting because Aetna was working with him to achieve his goal. He was only going to target those insurance companies that opposed him. It's pretty scary to have the President of the United States say he's going to target companies that won't support his agenda. When is he going to start targeting individual American's who won't support his agenda.

    August 15, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    I find it funny how some people like to bash government spending but when they need it then its give me, give me, give me. Again if you dont want anything from the government then the next time they send you a check send it back and tell them we cant afford it whether its unemployement, SSI even medicaid and medicare, OH! by the way when they want to give you a tax cut or a rebate check send it back because we cant afford it. This country need health care Reformed and some of the same people thats already getting government help says they dont want the government involved in HC. If its not you then someone in your family gets it.

    August 15, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Right Leaning Independent

    For those speaking about how Europe has free health care. They do but I travel there a lot and they also pay $4.00 more per gallon than whatever we are paying in the US. They have higher tax rates on income and banks have interest rates on homes at 15%. How do you think these countries pay for this health care??? These folks are taxed to death... But most of you folks speaking about Europe have no clue the true cost for their free health care. BTW, I have started reading the bill and I suggest all the rest of you do so and see what really is in this bill. Read about "grand fathered" policies and the limitations to keeping your current policy. Ask questions like will 12 million illegal aliens gain health care coverage once Obama grants them "legal Status" like he claimed he wants in his meeting with a Bi-Partisan panel – See June 25th Washington Post... Obama has bankrupted this country and we can not afford his plan!!!

    August 15, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. huff

    We don't want our country to be like Russia but we will follow Russian Or ly
    We are informed citizens, thus follow Pa li n, to see Russia from her porch
    We don't want socialism but social security, unemployment insurance and medicare
    We want our country back – back from intellectual people
    We don't want govt. bureaucrats; we can elect govt. Mo rans
    We don't need to show my birth certificate, but demand others to show theirs
    We want States right for governance & succession but could use some stimulus money
    We don't want govt control but stand by me at every crises & Katrina in my life
    We are Americans so we exercise our rights over others
    We are unique in our stu pi dity, so, America is the only place for me
    We are not angry mob, unamerican, nor militias, just boring left over teabagans
    We ha te color people, but, presently on vacation in Puerto Rico to TAN my skin
    We yell at meetings to say- hands off when my foot is in my mouth
    We have values, good ones, but hard to practice in C. street when lights are off
    We don't mind false sided F. news when delivered with a Tear
    We are fearful of death panel as it prohibits us from pulling the plug on my rich relatives
    We know amendments –to conceal drugs, alcohol, gu ns & soul mates
    We understand constitution-"Our forefathers & Sotomayor wrote something.I know she did”

    August 15, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. aware

    Why should we believe you Obama? You say one thing and do another. 🙁

    You have no plan, and your political strategies of diss, blame and obfuscate are bankrupt!

    August 15, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. S Callahan

    If I print this statement by our President off the CNN site...would that make it legal in the court should it ever be necessary.

    I welcome lower payments, and certainly getting rid of excessive 'extra' fees particulary co pays that years ago were 3.00 for a 90 supply and is now a min. $ 70 for 90 days supply....and that is one of the better health ins. plans....go figure! It is quite a pain for those on lots of necessary meds.

    August 15, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    A public option is a monopoly no one can compete against a monopoly. Obama will destroy privare insurance. Hitler made false promises look what happened.

    August 15, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. Seattle - policy is $628 a month

    I have paid out of pocket for the last ten years for an individual policy since I work as a consultant in the IT industry. Last month my rates went up almost 40% to $628/month with a $500 deductible. I can't switch to another company as in this state if you have a pre-existing condition (fibroids) and counseling (which my insurance didn't even cover) when my mom got metastic breast cancer and I had chest pain after flying back from Montana (where I was a volunteer on the Obama campaign). .

    I can no loner afford to pay $7000 a year out of pocket for my health insurance but I don't qualify for any financial aid since I make too much. I am one of the most responsible health care consumers that there is. I dont' smoke or drink. I don't take any medication. I exercise and dont eat red meat and am the right weight for my height and the system does work for me so how could it work for anyone else who owns their own company, works for themself or buys an individual policy (300,000 in Washington State alone)?

    We have enough money in the system, we just need to focus our resrouces on effective high quality care, Ensure that everyone has access to primary care (these are people not something you put on a shefl). Heck give everyone 500 a year to pay for primary care to start with (no insurance, no billing) and the ranks of primary care docs would mushroom.

    August 15, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. jpspec

    Obama "attempted" to answer a college student's question: How can insurance companies compete with a government run insurance? Obama talked at great length saying things that we all heard before. Finally, Obama said that the details have not been worked out "yet" but he is confident that they will be done in a way to resolve this problem.

    Gee, such a statement makes me wonder why Obama expected a health reform bill to be ready by August. It appears that people are suppose to support general ideas and have "trust" in the unknown details which will be worked out later!! Get Real.

    August 15, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. Matt, Austin TX

    Although what Obama is promising sounds great, it just cannot be delivered The idea that you will have limits on the amount you have to pay for insurance (presumably, we'll be spending less for insurance than we do today) and benefits will be unlimited equals a financial disaster. No insurance company can afford to be part of that plan.

    Obama's approach does nothing to address the real problems that weigh on our health care system. Nearly a half million people die from tobacco usage each year, costing the US a minimum of $100 billion. Why not ban the sale and distribution of tobacco products, or at the very least, raise the legal smoking age? There is an epidemic of type 2 diabetes due to childhood obesity, yet nothing is done to stop the distribution of junk food. Tens of billions of dollars are collected by doctors each year for cosmetic surgeries, yet our nation has millions of children that aren't being given basic health care due to a lack of health care professionals. And in our system today, doctors are paid for seeing patients, whether they correctly diagnose and treat the problem or not. The result is doctors drastically overbook, spend very little time with a patient, and more often than not don't correctly treat the problem. Patients are left having to hopscotch from one doctor to another in hopes of getting a successful treatment, paying a whopping initial consultation fee to each doctor along the way.

    Obama's speeches sound wonderful. But the reality is, simply changing insurance limits and benefits will only accelerate the demise of our health care system. This is not reform.

    August 15, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  21. jp

    Only a fool would believe that changes don't need to be made to improve health care in the U.S. like medical malpractice reform which is not in Obama's proposals. Only a bigger fool would believe that a government option program based on medicare reimbursement rates would destroy private insurance programs. If you have insurance you like Obama's plan will destroy it.

    August 15, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. Richard C

    So you are an emergency room doctor and a nine-year-old latino is brought into your facility having been hit by a car. Do you
    A) Provide care in accordance with your Hippocratic Oath, or
    B) Ask for his green card?
    If you select A) you are a compassionate human being.
    If you select B) you are a Republican.

    August 15, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Angelo

    President Obama used the word mischaracterizations today at his town hall meeting in Colorado. I would like someone to explain to me what several opponents of health reform are talking about when they say that our Constitution would be violated if the reform is enacted. I wonder if that idea is just another misconception being thrown out in order to sway public opinion. I am not a constitutional scholar (as is President Obama) so I would really like to know what these people are talking about. I really believe that is falls into the category of "throwing mud on the wall and some of it will stick".

    August 15, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  24. Lynne

    It is all about the Republicans gaining power again...fear over hope...the status quo which will continue to add to the deficit...shrink the middle class and further consolidate wealth in the hands of corporations.

    The shrill protestors shouting "socialism" and "hitler" have conveniently short memories as they blame one man for a deficit that the gov't has chosen to IGNORE for decades. It will these irrational people and their puppet masters that will bring down the United Statesalong with a media who has also sold out to corporate interests.

    Don't believe me...where are all the so called elected "leaders" of the republican side of the Congress? Just sitting back watching it all happen they don't care about the people of the country!!

    August 15, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Did anyone see those people in California trying to get medical treatment i mean there was so many that some had to be turned away from lack of doctors, thats a down right shame. Thats a clear indication that we nee health care for all Americans. There is a lot of poor people here that cant afford Health Care and im willing to do my share by paying higher taxes no i dont make a lot of money but at least i have a job and healthcare and i thank GOD for that, and i know there are people out there that dont even have a job not to mention H. C, So Yes! im willing to do my part if it comes down to it.

    August 15, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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