Obama excerpts of health care remarks focus on broad goals, not procedure

Jon Ward Contributor
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In advance of President Obama’s 1:45 p.m. statement on the way forward for health care reform, the White House released excerpts of his remarks. The excerpts emphasize broad goals that the president argues his plan – which is vehemently opposed by Republicans – will accomplish, such as giving Americans “more control over their own health insurance.”

The excerpts do not focus on procedure, an issue Republicans want to debate more than the White House. Capitol Hill, and every utterance from the White House over the past week, indicates that Democrats will use a procedure called “reconciliation” to bypass the 60-vote majority required in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

It is a controversial move which Republicans characterize as “ramming” the bill through the Congress in defiance of regular order. Democrats argue that Republicans have used the procedure before.

And as the president says in the excerpts released, he and his party believe the country is “waiting for us to act.”

Here are the excerpts of the president’s remarks, as released by the White House:

“I don’t believe we should give government bureaucrats or insurance company bureaucrats more control over health care in America. I believe it’s time to give the American people more control over their own health insurance. I don’t believe we can afford to leave life-and-death decisions about health care to the discretion of insurance company executives alone. I believe that doctors and nurses like the ones in this room should be free to decide what’s best for their patients.

The proposal I’ve put forward gives Americans more control over their health care by holding insurance companies more accountable. It builds on the current system where most Americans get their health insurance from their employer. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Because I can tell you that as the father of two young girls, I wouldn’t want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor.”


“So this is our proposal. This is where we’ve ended up. It’s an approach that has been debated and changed and I believe improved over the last year. It incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans – including some of the ideas that Republicans offered during the health care summit, like funding state grants on medical malpractice reform and curbing waste, fraud, and abuse in the health care system. My proposal also gets rid of many of the provisions that had no place in health care reform – provisions that were more about winning individual votes in Congress than improving health care for all Americans.”


“At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem. The American people want to know if it’s still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership. I don’t know how this plays politically, but I know it’s right. And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing this reform into law.”