Obama on the Record: Closing Remarks at Health Forum

to take some time.

So what we constantly have to think about is short-term costs versus even higher long-term costs. And what I’m trying to do in this debate is make sure that we’re focused not just on year one and year two, but on year 10, year 20, year 30 and year 50, and making sure that our children are not bankrupted. Now, that creates a very difficult political task. Nothing is harder in politics than doing something now that costs money in order to gain benefits 20 years from now. It’s the single hardest thing to do in politics, and that’s part of the reason why health care reform has consistently broken down.

There should be enough money in the system. We spend more per capita than any nation on Earth. And to find that American solution that mixes public and private, but also says we shouldn’t have such an inefficient system and we should make investments today to ensure that we’re saving money down the road, that’s going to be our challenge.

Okay, I’ve got time for maybe a couple more questions. The gentleman right here. And I’ll catch folks back here, as well.

MR. McANDREWS: Mr. President, my name is Lawrence McAndrews. I represent the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. First, I’d like to thank you for your leadership with CHIP; extending coverage to 4 million children is just fantastic. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

MR. McANDREWS: Second, as your leadership in CHIP has illustrated, perhaps children can lead the way. And I think we in the pediatric community — children represent 25 percent of the population, 10 percent of the health care costs — and we I think are a small enough community, cohesive enough, the doctors and the hospitals working together, we know each other, that perhaps we can offer an opportunity to be another leading edge in your plan for change. And we would work with you in the implementation of any quality measures, any new incentive structures.

And I think children’s hospitals tend to be a disrupter in the cost of care, because they take care of 40 to 50 percent of the market and we can — and the most expensive kids. Working with you, we can make the biggest down payment, the Willie Sutton principle, so to speak, where the money is, we can help you manage that.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. McANDREWS: Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great point, that’s a great point. (Applause.) I’m going to make this — I’m — oh, suddenly everybody raises their hand. (Laughter.) I’m going to take two more questions — this young lady right here and then this gentleman right here, just because they had their hands up a little bit early.

Go ahead.

Q Thank you so very much, Mr. President. And it’s quite an honor for you having all of us here today. You’ve created a network among us that we didn’t even know exists. We are more alike than we are different. And I would ask that all of us help to make

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