February 27th, 2010
10:21 AM ET
11 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. Linda

    Obama on Health Care Reform: "I sold you out",

    Today's Obama approval rating is now down to 43 pct according to Rasmussen.

    It should be at 25, for only the koolaid drinkers can still believe in this loser.

    February 27, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. What ?

    Who are you, Barry the Cable Guy ? Uh, let's get'er done !

    Why don't you tell the truth. You plan to force your idealogy on the rest of America, you plan to disenfranchise everyone that does not agree with you, you plan to spend us into poverty so that all be equal in your gulag....

    The only thing that American really needs to get done, is your term in office.

    February 27, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Terry from West Texas

    Conservatives say, "What's the rush. Let's take our time and get this right." They are lying – as usual. They have absolutely no plan to pass any bill of any kind. Everyone should know that by now. We have been trying to deal with health care since Teddy Roosevelt tried a century ago. Franklin Roosevelt tried in the 30's. Truman tried in the 40's. LBJ, bless his heart, actually accomplished some progress with Medicare, but he was a special case. Clinton tried in the 90's. Now Obama is trying

    Conservatives are, as usual, opposed to everything and anything that will benefit the middle class. Conservatism is the word Americans use when they mean "class warfare." To Conservatives, the world is divided into winners and losers. The wealthy class are the winners or they wouldn't be wealthy. The middle class is the loser class. If they weren't losers, they wouldn't be middle class. The lower class simply doesn't exist to Conservatism.

    February 27, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Sue

    Insurance companies are already reviewed/regulated through the states--including premium increases/prices. Each state has an insurance commission--and this power/control should remain with the states.

    This power does NOT need to be taken away from the states and given to Obama/government.

    The goal should never be to take away rights from the states in order to give it to Obama/government.

    February 27, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. A.B.

    I am extremely proud of President Obama and believe in his ability to accomplish this crucial domestic policy goal–Enacting Healthcare Reform into law. President Obama will be the first U.S. president in history to reform the nation's healthcare system. He will go down in U.S. history as the man who did what other presidents tried and failed to do. The American people and the nation will be better off for his efforts and accomplishment in this endeavor.

    February 27, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Truth Teller

    Yes, it's about time. The party of no is not interested in helping those in need. Let her rip Mr. President, behind you 100%

    February 27, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. sifto77

    Its time for Obama to start thinking of the American people instead of his own ego–that arrogant display at his "forum" was disgusting–calling distinguished heroes and congressmen by their first names while they (with class) called him by his title...the repubs were the definition of class and intelligent , researched, comments..while Obama exuded petulance and inexperience, and-yes–rude behavior like a spoiled child......

    February 27, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. James

    Hey Obama. Wish in one hand and do something else in the other and see which one gets full first. You have to deal with the two thirds of the population that don't want what you are pushing.

    February 27, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Allison30

    I wish you well President Obama.....Republican "thugs" wish only failure. Shame on the GOP.

    February 27, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Anthony

    YES WE CAN! This is the same plan that bob dole and john mcain proposed when they ran for president previously. Republicans were for pooling people together and giving vouchers to people who could not afford it. They were for it before they were against it. They were for it before the credit would go to a President of the other party. They play politics while problems never get solved. To say that this is a government take over is just not the case. We pay for the uninsured anyway one way or another. GET IT DONE!

    February 27, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Read the constitution

    Obama really means "let's bankrupt this country, give our kids unsustainable debt, and keep the unions with sweetheart cadillac plans"

    Stop this hurrendous bill now!

    February 27, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Kayla

    If you want to accomplish anything productive, we'd better have Democrats around. Republicans are do-nothings and the party of "NO"....literally. The GOP sure ain't the party Mom and Pop once supported.

    February 27, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Independent One

    Yes We CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 27, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Andy

    Obama is just a power hungry politician that was not qualified for the job and has failed miserably.Healthcare must be correct and deserves the time to do it.Slam the GOP all you want,but I am glad they have enough sense to say NO.Socialism is not the answer.

    February 27, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Obama & Michael Jackson

    Both entertain with song & dance,one sings and the other talks.Both are Hollywood actors,and put on a good show.Jackson stops here and Obama trys to continue;BUT,his show is over,all show and NO action.

    February 27, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. ib

    Yeah; why not since most of the polls show people do not want this thing and let's continue this uncontolled spending and finish this country off.

    February 27, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. How To Bankrupt America-Put A Dem On It

    Wish they would try reconciliation,MAKE MY DAY,they would commit political suicide.Two things they must have 1)the votes 2) the testicles and they do not have either!

    February 27, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Scott, Tucson

    One would think that fixing the economy and putting Americans back to work would be more important than trying to ram down our throats obamacare which would benefit the millions of illegals while the IRS sticks their hands into our wallets to pay for it.

    February 27, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Yes lets totally bankrupt this country and make everyone dependent on the government for everything, that way he can move to his dacha with the politburo and live happily for the rest of his life while the rest of us wait in lines for state sponsored health care and food. The old marxist dream. That is the dream of this idiot the left elected (of course he had to lie a lot and George Soros and SEIU/ACORN had to steal a lot of votes also).

    February 27, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. j

    It seems to me that, rather than having a huge "package deal", they should just vote on the pieces individually. The ones that they can all agree on – the way the House is doing it – and by doing so reach what they aimed to do in the package. It seems like the smaller pieces are easier to swallow.

    February 27, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. d5 artist

    Way to go Mr President, Keep fighting for the million of americans
    that do not have health insurance. Pass health care reform.

    February 27, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. gary

    Just do it!

    February 27, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Ted:Canada


    Funeral Homes in the USA making more money then their counterparts in CANADA!!

    Study shows that Canadians have longer life span and a lower mortality rate than their neighbors to the south!!


    Health Insurance Companies in the US own Funeral Homes in the US – invest in them and or cut a deals with them!!!!


    America take back your freedom – your democracy and your health!

    YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT! – say NO to people who will sell your health and death for a profit!

    February 27, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. barking republican ankle biters

    Its time to use Teddy Rooesvelts big stick.Get it done and with the public option.

    February 27, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. rob

    Agreed. Let's get it done. Now the American people spoke and voted for a Democratic Congress, Senate, and President. The only way to resolve this is through a majority vote. No, we're not "starting over" "with a clean state" "going step by step" (nice talking points Repubs... did you get together as a group and study them together?) Reconciliation, NOW. Let's get the 51 votes and put this thing to bed once and for all! It's what the American people want.

    February 27, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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