Obama on the Record: Closing Remarks at Health Forum

sure that the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities be a core component of whatever health care reform legislation may look like that you enact.

And I thank you again. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that’s important, I think that’s important. And that’s an example of where there is some data out there that’s pretty indisputable that even when you account for incomes and levels of insurance, that you’re still seeing problems in the African American community and the Latino community, Native American communities, in terms of quality of care and outcomes.

And part of what we should be doing is to think about, based on this evidence and this data, are there ways that we can close those gaps. And to the extent that that is reflected in this reform, I think that will ultimately save everybody money. Okay?

Q Thank you so much. Just one really quick one — if you will give us the marching orders before we leave. (Laughter.)

DR. REDLENER: Mr. President, I’m Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and President of the Children’s Health Fund. And I also just want to underscore how extraordinarily important this meeting was. It launches health care in a way that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before in this country. And we all, I know, congratulate you deeply about that.

And I wanted to say just a couple of words about prevention, which has been mentioned a few times. Prevention needs to be bolstered by a strong American public health system, as well. And we cannot forget about the public health infrastructure as we’re building and strengthening our health care system in general. So the public health schools are often the places where the research is done that tell us and guide us what kinds of preventive interventions actually work. And what works is really going to be important.

I also wanted to underscore what Larry McAndrews said about the importance of investing in children. They are not only a compelling moral issue for us, but they are compelling fiscally, as well. America is going to be depending on its children to be fully functional, to function in school, to succeed in ways that can only happen if their health is protected and guarded.

And the final point is that I don’t think we’ve mentioned yet the role of individual citizens. Every single American has a role to play in making us healthier as a nation. And your inspiration and hopefully the inspiration of others here will make sure that individuals know that their choices of healthy lifestyle decisions, and making sure they get the prevention that they need will bolster our ability to provide quality health care and reduce the cost of care that could have been avoided if we had thought about prevention in the first place. Thank you. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Those are all great points.

Let me just close by saying this — because somebody asked for marching orders. Number one, all of the groups here need

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