Obama Says He Is ‘Absolutely Committed’ to Health Reform
During a C-SPAN interview on Saturday, President Obama said he remains "absolutely committed" to overhauling the U.S. health care system despite obstacles that might surface during reform efforts, the Los Angeles Times reports (Dorning, Los Angeles Times, 5/24). He said he would work to keep "this process moving, ... focusing on how we reduce costs, how do we make sure families have some confidence that they can get health care when they need it and they won't go bankrupt because their child gets sick" (Adams Otis, New York Post, 5/24).
Obama said that his health care plan would provide "basic coverage" to all U.S. residents and retain patient choice of physicians and coverage. In addition, he said his plan would "invest more in prevention and wellness programs," as well as increase the use of electronic health records (Rushing, The Hill, 5/23).
Obama also said that refusing to address the rising costs of Medicaid and Medicare now means the U.S. will face a bigger financial crisis in the future. He said overhauling health care would reduce costs and free up additional funding over the long term. This would make it easier to pay down the $11 trillion national debt and manage other financial issues, Obama said (New York Post, 5/24).
Because such rising costs have shifted the political climate, Obama said that he believes "the stars may be aligned" for reform and that he can succeed where former President Clinton failed. Obama said, "The biggest change politically ... is that businesses now recognize that if we don't get a handle on this stuff that they are going to continue to be operating at a competitive disadvantage with other countries." He added, "And so they anxiously seek serious reform" (Los Angeles Times, 5/24).