Obama on the Record: Closing Remarks at Health Forum

bankrupt; state governments will be bankrupt.

So I hope everybody understands that — for those of you who are passionate about universal coverage and making sure that the moral dimension of health care is dealt with, don’t think that we can get that done without — (coughing) — excuse me — this is a health care forum, so I thought I’d, you know — (laughter) — model what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. (Laughter.)

Don’t think that we can — that’s right, I’m talking to you liberal bleeding hearts out there. (Laughter.) Don’t think that we can solve this problem without tackling costs. And that may make some in the progressive community uncomfortable, but it’s got to be dealt with. And the flip side is what I would say to those who are obsessed with costs — and this goes to the issue of Medicare and Medicaid reform, as well — I don’t think it is a viable option as a means of controlling costs simply to throw seniors off the Medicare rolls, for example, or to prevent them from getting vital care that they need, which means, you know, we’ve got to balance heart and head as we move this process forward.

A couple other people I want to call on. How about Charlie Rangel? He has a tax committee that’s important. (Laughter.)

REPRESENTATIVE RANGEL: People have said that, when I first came to Washington — George Washington, act like him. (Laughter.) But I have to tell you, Mr. President, this is one of the most exciting experience and opportunities. There hasn’t been a year that we haven’t talked about this. And you have brought all of these different stakeholders to read from the same page, to show how important it is to our country. And I’m excited about it. Our speakers made it abundantly clear that there may be a lot of people to blame but it won’t be our committee people, it won’t be those of us who have jurisdictions. There’s nothing that we would rather do than be able to say that we helped for you to fulfill not just a campaign obligation but a moral obligation. We all are indebted.

And so, Senator Kennedy, this is a fantastic day. There hasn’t been a time we haven’t hoped that we could do this. And so, we know that there’s going to be a lot of problems. But we also what you’ve created is a group of missionaries to make our political job easier so that when we have the problems they won’t have to say, what are they doing in Congress? They can go to our union leaders, our business people, advocate for children’s, those that do want public programs. And at least we would know that we’re moving in the direction which our country wants us to do collectively. So, I’m proud to be on the team.

THE PRESIDENT: Good, thank you. Is your counterpart on your committee here?

REPRESENTATIVE RANGEL: Yes, he is. Dave and I –

THE PRESIDENT: Come on, Dave.

REPRESENTATIVE RANGEL: — have worked so closely together. If

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