Obama on the Record: Closing Remarks at Health Forum

hold onto if they think they’re satisfied with it, or to be able to access if they don’t have it at the present time.

So I think this is a very useful meeting. Our breakout session was very on point. And I think it leads all of us to recognize that we have to work together, we all need to recognize there are going to be tradeoffs; but if we don’t get the tradeoff exactly the way we want it, we’ve got to recognize there’s a broader public goal and purpose. And your leadership, I think, is going to make this bill possible —

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Thank you. Thank you, Henry.

Is Jo Ann Emerson here? There you are. Good to see you, Jo Ann.

REPRESENTATIVE EMERSON: Thank you very much for having me here today. And thank you very much for your passion on this issue. Coming from a very rural, poor district in southeast and south central Missouri, I have so many constituents who have no insurance, nor do they have — nor do those who have insurance necessarily have access —

THE PRESIDENT: To providers.

REPRESENTATIVE EMERSON: — to providers, particularly primary providers. And so for us to be able to get together, all stakeholders, members of the House, Senate Republicans, Democrats, business, labor — you name it — I think that that’s critical. And I hope that all of us from both parties will be willing to kind of take a fresh look and say, you know, if there are laws that we had on the books before, that they need to be opened up if we need to change the system. And I think all of us have to be willing to kind of give a little, if you will.

And I thank you so very much because for me this has been a passion for all 13 years I’ve been in Congress. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, listen, I appreciate your point, Jo Ann, and I want to amplify it. I think it is so important that all of us make decisions throughout this process based on evidence and data and what works, as opposed to what our dug-in positions may have been in the past. Because if we can at least agree on a set of facts, we’re still going to have tough choices, but we’re more likely to make good decisions on behalf of families.

And so I want to be clear about my own position in this process. During the campaign I put forward a plan for health care reform. I thought it was a excellent plan, but I don’t presume that it was a perfect plan or that it was the best possible plan. It’s conceivable that there were other ideas out there that we had not thought of.

If there is a way of getting this done where we’re driving down costs and people are getting health insurance at an affordable rate and have choice of doctor, have flexibility in terms of their plans, and we could do that entirely

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