October 10th, 2009
11:25 AM ET
13 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. Anonymous

    what about the cost of unnecessary law suits. this would help reduce the cost of the malpractice insurance.also what about the cost overruns on the drug making and the control of the lobyists, cut out all payoffs to any government officials by anyone for any reason. look at the cost of the malpractice insurance and try to find a way to reduce it and look at the cost of the drugs and reduce this cut out 100% all drug advertisements on television or any other area telling the non trained people in medicine to tell the doctor what they should do.

    October 10, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Larry

    Does it have a robust public option? It has to be a no-go without it.

    October 10, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. James In Atlanta

    Some of the changes proposed by congress are long over due like removing preexisting conditions clauses from health care insurance policies and removing the cap/policy limits most insurance companies have placed on policy holders often leaving the sick liable for thousands of dollars. These are changes the people of the US have needed for many years.

    The fallacy is that the bill will reduce costs; in fact by congress mandating that all US citizens have to be insured is a boom for the insurance industry. Those citizens who can not afford health care coverage will have it at the expense of the tax payer who will be paying premiums directly to the health insurance industry.

    The only true way to lower health care cost over the long term is to introduce true competition into the market place by providing a public option. A health insurance program ran by the people for the people and not for profit and greed but merely to cover costs.

    President Obama and Congress need to rethink what is best for the citizens of the US and our nation as a whole. The health insurance industry through campaign donations and lobbyist efforts in Washington DC have made sure that no matter how much a health care insurance policy will cost the American taxpayer will pick up the tab.

    James In Atlanta

    October 10, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. phoenix86

    Bringing half a dozen doctors and donning them with "lab coats" while thousands of doctors and millions of Americans are against Obama care does not make consensus.

    Just like Obama's "Nobel Peace Prize" wasn't deserved, Americans, especially the elderly, don't deserve to have their medicare slashed and taxes increased to pay for a plan that no one except Pelosi, Reid and Obama want.

    October 10, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. mjm

    "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"

    You must be talking about yourself...Obama.

    The letter from the CBO to Baucus, and Obama can go to the CBO website and read it, stated the cost to be $829 billion. THEY HAVE NO CLUE HOW THEY ARE GOING TO PAY FOR IT. They estimate this, they estimate that, but in the end CBO says they have no clue.

    I love the part where the Baucus bill costs Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals that serve low income areas...That ought to keep hospitals open.

    October 10, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. jinxie

    "This consensus encompasses everyone from doctors and nurses to hospitals and drug manufacturers."

    Too bad he didn't ask the American people what they wanted.
    Oh well, it's not like he's listening. And if he can live with someone dying every twelve minutes because of his "consensus" building, I guess we're just going to have to take it.

    Personally, I plan to get put in jail for non-payment as soon as possible. That way I can get all the free healthcare I need.

    Thanks, man. Those guys in Oslo are right. You're just swell!

    October 10, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. We Won Get Over It

    The republicans as always will try to obstruct, delay and even stop ANY LEGISLATION that seems to help Obama, the Democrats and the American people...too bad they can't ALL be tried for treason.

    October 10, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. billy123

    All the Republicans the President spoke about do not have one vote in the current Congress. Please Mr. President forget about the GOIP all will vote no on health care refprm.

    October 10, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Every

    I am one who hope President Obama quit the bipartisan effort, because repuglicans will not vote for anything bill supported by him! They will whine, delay, quibble, attack, but, put their two cents into everything coming ot of these committees! These repuglicans only want what meets their ideological neocon conservative bases approval! THEY ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT EVERYDAY AMERICANS! THEY WILL DIVIDE AND CONQUER THIS NATION, ETHINICALLY, RACIALLY, POLITICALLY, FINANCIALLY, RELIGIOUSLY AND STATE BY STATE SUCCESSION UNLESS ONE OF THEIR OWN IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE! These hpocrites stood by while President GWB squandered 5 trillion in surplus without say a whimper! Then watched and supported not paying for 5.4 trillion in tax cuts, over 3 trillion for two wars, child medicare and disability bill, giving us an over 8 trillion deficit! THERE POLICIES ALMOST BANRUPTED AMERICA! I CANNOT BELIEVE INTELLIGIENT AMERICANS ARE FALLING FOR THEIR OKIDOPE!

    October 10, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Ernesto López

    I just can't understand how the United States of America, a country wich is supposed to be so great and so awesome to live in just can't get done something so basic such as a health care reform that is fair and good for the people, if american politicians were really interested in people's health and well being they would have get this done already a long time ago, if they haven't done it already it's because they simply don't care or just care more about something else. Many countries, first world and even third world countries, and some even supposedly more corrupt and unfair to people have been able to pull this out, why can't the USA ?

    October 10, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. munchmom

    Agreeing on the need for reform and agreeing to what the reform involves are two very different things.....

    October 10, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Simmy

    President Obama, I so admire your determination to believe in the humanity of man.....If it were some other party you were talking about I'd be on board.......Republicans have proven over and over that they can't be trusted. They're ok one on one.....But the minute a group of peers start snipping and parching his/her words, up jumps the devil in the details......Dance with the ones who brung you, Mr. President ....Go for broke.....Get a great healthbill passed......Mediocre is not an option......Peace.....

    October 10, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "Reforming" health care doesn't necessarily entail turning it into a trillion dollar entitlement program. By implying that Republicans who acknowledge the possible desirability of "reforming" health care are thereby endorsing his appalling waste of money the country doesn't have, Obama is, once again, playing games with the truth. That's a really bad habit of his.

    October 10, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    I DON'T EVEN HAVE TO READ THE REPUBLICAN RESPONCE. it is about to much governmnet control and keeping the control of health care in the hands of the hugh insurance companies hands ( greed) is the word. soscial security has worked well enough for past administrations taking money out of it to pay its debt.. so if social security works then it is with in our ablity to realize health care can work with a government option.. no profit just the cost ..no stock dividens , no CEO profit, and the list goes on and on WAKE UP AMERICA .the insurance company isnot your freind.. but " we the people are the government " FIRE IT UP READY TO GO...


    October 10, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Larry

    I never thought that I would see in my lifetime a man as sincere, as devoted, as concerned for true reform in this country as I see with Barack Obama

    Here is a man who truly cares about education for our children, who truly cares about cleaning up the environment we live in, who truly cares about the health and well being of all Americans, who truly cares to do whatever he can to actually improve this world the we as humans all live in

    I can not thank Barack Obama enough for being exactly who he is, and I can not thank the voters of this great country enough for having the vision of a better world, and voting for a change in this country that for now is, and hopefully shall always be.


    October 10, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Eliza

    Well said, Mr. President.
    Too bad other politicians can't speak or write as well . . . but only know how to frown, give out negative opinions, looking for things to nit-pick about. But, that's the cause of the other party now, isn't it?

    Wish the public wouldn't listen to drivel, lies, and half truths that are so prevalent by some news commentator's.

    Glad we have the correct leader now, and one who can rise above it all, and lead the way so that all Americans can benefit by Health Care Reform. We need the PUblic Option, and shouldn't listen to the Insurance Company spokesmen, their lobbyists, or all the plus million dollar ads trying to persuade the voters to complain.

    If anyone listens to them, then it will be their fault if a decent Health Care System isn't in the making soon.

    Why reform our health systems, or add a public option? Because it's been long overdue, and time to have insurance company executives come down to earth, and join the rest of us, trying to eke out a living, and hoping we live to see our kids go to college.

    October 10, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Let's make sure..................

    Let's make sure this is reform....at the very least has a public option trigger...and the very best would have a public otion mandate. But NO public option is acceptable for allowing states the option opting in or out such a mandate. This would provide States....who are much more easily "paid off" by Insurance companies...into non-compliance to bending this cost curve and improving our health care system.

    October 10, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Denna

    Stay the course President Obama. The naysayers are not friends of America, but little more than traitors. Also, congratulations on the Nobel Prize for Peace. Never mind your detractors. American needs a president who actually works for ALL of America, not just the wealthy.

    October 10, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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