Obama on the Record: Healthcare Reform Town Hall

But what I said and I’ve taken off the table would be the idea that you just described, which would be that you would actually provide — you would eliminate the tax deduction that employers get for providing you with health insurance, because, frankly, a lot of employers then would stop providing health care, and we’d probably see more people lose their health insurance than currently have it. And that’s not obviously our objective in reform. Okay?

All right, let’s see, this young man right here. He’s got a bowtie on, he looks very sharp. (Applause.) Here, you can use my mic.

Q Hi, I’m Brandon Patterson and I’m Shaker Heights senior class president. And I want to say, on behalf of the entire — (applause.) (Inaudible) — but my question is — she kind of touched on it earlier, and you kind of said that you’re going to, with the health care, extend the age where we can go on our parents’ health care. But we see that many states have passed reforms where they extended the age to 26 and 30 (inaudible) that we, at 19 — or 29 — that we still are the main — the largest percent of people who do not have health insurance. So my question to you is actually, how can we be guaranteed?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, keep in mind that one way of dealing with this is having health insurance reform so that young people are covered under their parents’ plan while they’re in that transition period from college to a job.

But anybody under the plan that we proposed and actually we’re seeing consensus in Congress about, anybody would be eligible to go ahead and get health insurance through what we’re calling this exchange with subsidies with help from the federal government if you can’t afford it, so that you’d still be able to get health insurance even if you’re 20 or 21 or 22 as long as you are eligible financially. I mean, if you’re LeBron James — I love LeBron, but he doesn’t need a subsidy from the federal government for health insurance. (Laughter.)

But assuming you’re — you qualify in terms of income, where you’re a working person who’s not making a lot of money, doesn’t get health insurance on the job, regardless of age, you would then be eligible to go ahead and buy health insurance through this exchange. That’s the whole idea, is that we’re creating a system where anybody who doesn’t have health insurance is able to go and look up and see these choices.

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