On '60 Minutes,' Obama Predicts Health Care Will Succeed
By Anne E. Kornblut
President Obama on Sunday ducked a question about whether Rep. Joe Wilson should be rebuked for his outburst during last week's congressional address -- gently noting simply that the current legislative debate had become "a big circus instead of focusing on health care."
Obama, in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" airing Sunday night, said the mid-speech exclamation by the South Carolina Republican "was a surprise not just to me, but I think to a lot of his Republican colleagues -- who, you know, said it wasn't appropriate. He apologized afterward, which I ... appreciated. And I've said so."
Obama also repeated his belief that he will achieve a health care bill. He said he remained open to any ideas that could lead to a compromise -- but only if they led to cost savings. In fact, he said he was not convinced that putting caps on malpractice lawsuit judgments, an idea popular with Republicans, would meet that test. He offered no other examples of how he would win support from specific Republicans.
"What I would be willing to do is to consider any ideas out there that would actually work in terms of reducing costs, improving the quality of patient care. So far the evidence I've seen is that caps will not do that," Obama said, according to a transcript released by CBS. "But there are a range of ideas that are out there, offered by doctors' organizations like the AMA, that I think we can explore."
He continued: "You know, I intend to be President for a while and once this bill passes, I own it. And if people look and say, 'You know what? This hasn't reduced my costs. My premiums are still going up 25 percent, insurance companies are still jerkin' me around,' I'm the one who's going to be held responsible."
Posted at 7:00 PM ET on Sep 13, 2009
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