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Obama Will Highlight Health-Care Reform Areas of Agreement

The White House this evening released advance excerpts of President Obama's opening remarks at tonight's news conference. The remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

That is why I've said that even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before. And health insurance reform is central to that effort.

This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job. It's about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive. And it's about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

So let me be clear: if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction. These are the stakes of the debate we're having right now.

I realize that with all the charges and criticisms being thrown around in Washington, many Americans may be wondering, "What's in this for me? How does my family stand to benefit from health insurance reform?"

Tonight I want to answer those questions. Because even though Congress is still working through a few key issues, we already have agreement on the following areas:

If you already have health insurance, the reform we're proposing will provide you with more security and more stability. It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you're happy with it. It will prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, move, or change your job, you will still be able to have coverage. It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket. And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money.

If you don't have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you'll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange - a marketplace that promotes choice and competition. Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.

I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade - and I mean it.

I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics - to turn every issue into running tally of who's up and who's down. I've heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it's better politics to "go for the kill." Another Republican Senator said that defeating health reform is about "breaking" me.

So let me be clear: This isn't about me. I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress. This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings...This debate is not a game for these Americans, and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer. They are counting on us to get this done. They are looking to us for leadership. And we must not let them down. We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice, and provides coverage that every American can count on. And we will do it this year.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 22, 2009; 6:23 PM ET
Categories:  Primary Source , Ralph Nader  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama: Health Care Reform Is Essential to Rebuilding Economy
Next: White House Discloses Meetings With Health Care Executives


What is all this fuss about the cost of healthcare? I pays $70 per month out of my paycheck for a nice healthcare plan and I can choose my doctor. Its a lot of money but it is less than I pay for beer in a week. Why is everyone complaining about the cost of healthcare? Its stopid.

I think American healthcare is the greatest in the whole world. I am a proud american and I always vote republican. I do not want no communist healthcare like they got everywheres else.

Posted by: warren631 | July 22, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's speech will be a success if it leads to a 3-4 point bump for Obama's health care approval rating. We'll find out in a week or two.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | July 22, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The President is right; this is not the time to delay. The delay tactic is really the destroy tactic. To delay is to kill the Health Care Reform, period. The GOP does not have an alternative Health Care Reform plan but to stay with the status quo. They want to continue the environment that increases the profits of the Insurance and Drug Companies while decreasing the quality and availability of Health Care for everyone. If we delay we will spend another 50 years debating and evading the final out come of Health Care Reform.
Now is the time to capture the opportunity of finally winning the fight. We must strike the knockout blow now and finally win.
I am for taxing everyone if we need to pay for health care for everyone. We all should share the burden. I am my brother’s keeper and I want to see my neighbor do well. I am willing to pay more in taxes for health care for everyone. In the end I believe we will all save more money in our ability to obtain more competitive health care plans that will lower our out of pocket costs for health care.

Posted by: kg4thepeople | July 22, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

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