February 27th, 2010
10:21 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama on health care reform: 'Let's get this done'

Washington (CNN) - President Obama used his weekly Internet and radio address to praise the success of the U.S. Olympic team and to push for passage of a health care reform bill, one of the top priorities of his domestic agenda in the past year.

(Full transcript of Obama's weekly address after the jump)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
February 27, 2010

As the Winter Olympics draw to a close this weekend, I just want to take a minute to congratulate all the athletes who competed in these games. And I especially want to say how proud I am of all the American men and women have achieved over the last few weeks.

Whether it was the men’s hockey team’s stunning upset of the Canadians on their way to the gold-medal game, Lindsey Vonn’s heroic gold-medal comeback from a shin injury, or Apolo Ohno becoming the most decorated American winter Olympian of all time, you can’t help but be inspired by the sheer grit and athletic prowess on display in Vancouver.

And it’s not just the medal count that’s inspiring – though we’ve certainly done great on that score. What’s truly inspiring is the character of the men and women who have won those medals. The sacrifices they’ve made. The integrity they’ve shown. The indomitable Olympic spirit that says no matter who you are or where you come from or what difficulties you may face, you can work hard and train hard and still triumph in the end. That is why we watch. That is why we cheer. That is why in the middle of an extremely challenging time for America, we’ve been able to come together as one nation for a few weeks in February and swell with pride at what our citizens have achieved.

Now, when it comes to meeting the larger challenges we face as a nation, I realize that finding this unity is easier said than done – especially in Washington. But if we want to compete on the world stage as well as we’ve competed in the world’s games, we need to find common ground. We need to move past the bickering and the game-playing that holds us back and blocks progress for the American people.

We know it’s possible to do this. And we were reminded of that last week when Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a jobs bill that will give small businesses tax credits to hire more workers. We also saw it when Democrats and Republicans in the House came together to pass a bill that will force insurance companies to abide by common-sense rules that prevent price-fixing and other practices that drive up health care costs.

We need that same spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship when it comes to finally passing reform that will bring down the cost of health care and give Americans more control over their insurance. On Thursday, we brought both parties together for a frank and productive discussion about this issue. In that discussion, we heard many areas of agreement. Both sides agreed that the rising cost of health care is a serious problem that plagues families, small businesses, and our federal budget. Many on both sides agreed that we should give small businesses and individuals the ability to participate in a new insurance marketplace – which members of Congress would also use – that would allow them to pool their purchasing power and get a better deal from insurance companies. And I heard some ideas from our Republican friends that I believe are very worthy of consideration.

But still, there were differences. We disagreed over whether insurance companies should be held accountable when they deny people care or arbitrarily raise premiums. I believe they should. We disagreed over giving tax credits to small businesses and individuals that would make health care affordable for those who don’t have it. This would be the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, and I believe we should do it. And while we agreed that Americans with pre-existing conditions should be able to get coverage, we disagreed on how to do that.

Some of these disagreements we may be able to resolve. Some we may not. And no final bill will include everything that everyone wants. That’s what compromise is. I said at the end of Thursday’s summit that I am eager and willing to move forward with members of both parties on health care if the other side is serious about coming together to resolve our differences and get this done. But I also believe that we cannot lose the opportunity to meet this challenge. The tens of millions of men and women who cannot afford their health insurance cannot wait another generation for us to act. Small businesses cannot wait. Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot wait. State and federal budgets cannot sustain these rising costs.

It is time for us to come together. It is time for us to act. It is time for those of us in Washington to live up to our responsibilities to the American people and to future generations. So let’s get this done.

Thanks for listening.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Obama won't get it done if he waits for the republicans to help. All they want to do is stall everything he tries to do, at the expense of the American public.

    February 27, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Four and The Door

    We need that same spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship when it comes to finally passing reform that will bring down the cost of health care and give Americans more control over their insurance.
    That's easy for you to do, President Obama. Just tell your hold-out Senators and special interest organizations that the generous favors they were promised in the original bill may not happen because you are starting over with a bipartisan bill. The Republicans will be easy to work with to create a sensible bill that the American people can afford. They told you that in no uncertain terms. You are the one clutching to the original bill drafted in the back rooms of Washington DC with no Republicans invited.

    February 27, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Can we have an "Amen!" for that? Get this done.

    February 27, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. I voted for Obama and proud of it in Oregon

    the republicans have proven they don't want anything that would be good for the people yet most republicans back the party of NO just because our president is a democrat and a black man
    shows racist ideals . and I do not feel the same as republicans
    I am proud to have voted for Mr. Obama .and with out any republican tea party purist whities helping recover our econemy. then when it continues to move forward and we get back to being a great nation of healthy living . don't let the republicans take any credit for doing the right thing . so we the peole have spoken we voted Obama and he is doing wonerful . BOO HOO to the spoiled republican cry babies 🙂

    February 27, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Danny

    After we get, “free" health care, we should take the next step. I know of some Americans that unfairly don't have cars or Large Screen HDTV’s. This is what would really, really, give people true happiness. I think the Democrats would get more votes with cars and HDTV’s.

    February 27, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. strong

    "Let's get this done", says Barky.

    This can't be good. Not for the poplulace, that's for sure. Sounds like a botched up rush-job coming on ...

    February 27, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Time to waterboard the Republicans

    The ONLY way to get this done is to waterboard every Republican into full submission and full cooperation. After the bill becomes law, Americans need to lock the Republican Senators and Congressmen in a cellar and starve them half to death and then drop them off in the Congo to fend for themselves. This is the right thing to do. Because then, and only then will these anti-American prick mutherphuckerz wake up and realize what it's like to be denied basic rights without hope. May the Republicans rot in hell for all eternity.

    In Jesus name, AMEN.

    February 27, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Mayo

    Get er done... The number one country in the world needs healthcare of the 21st century.

    February 27, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Tom in Va

    I agree! Let's get it done!

    BOTH parties ran on a platform of Heathcare Reform! Remember that? BOTH parties cited the need to pass Healthcare Reform IMMEDIATELY. I guess the GOP wasn't really serious about it after all.

    But the GOP, acting as sore losers and childish, refuse,,,just simply REFUSE to do what is in the best interest of this country.

    Pres.Obama... and Congressional Democrats: You were elected into office with a mandate to get this done. Stop acting like the GOP and being afraid to do what is right! Healthcare Reform is the MORAL thing to do! DO IT!

    February 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Larry

    What a great man the American people were wise enough to put in our highest office

    Go Obama, help save this country from the obstructionist self serving Republicans

    February 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Sylvie

    What kind of 'people' are you referring to, Sen. Coburn? The Americans who wears the Republican coat?

    Clearly, you and cohorts opposing the massive health care reform have not made a poll or study on this to sweeping changes and you only have how many pages did you say of your own reform proposals and only 9 points in bipartisan ways with the Dems?

    Who are you kidding to? We already had a lifetime of so many generations waiting for a crack at this and you spoil the day with your GOP silly stance.

    Tell your proposal to the marines!

    February 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Jerry - Florida

    Mr. President, not so fast. And most of all, you need to stop all the lies and then ask your cronies to do the same.

    Our great country HAS NEVER been as divided as it is now. This thanks to you, your moronic/unpatriotic administration and your cronies.

    It's about time YOU and your minions started respecting the will of the majority of the American people.

    Stay tuned!

    February 27, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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