Obama on the Record: Healthcare Reform Town Hall

By the way, this exchange has a lot of private plan options in it, if that’s what you prefer. And you could choose the plan that you think works best for you and we would then help you be able to purchase that insurance. And any insurer who was in the exchange would have to abide by certain rules, like you can’t exclude people for preexisting conditions; like they can’t just drop you if they decide that you get too sick; you can’t lose your insurance just because you change jobs. Right? So we would be reforming the insurance industry and you would be able to get access for insurance that you could count on over the long term.

All right? Okay. It’s a young lady’s turn. Let’s see — I’ve sort of neglected I think way up there. All right, that young lady standing up right there — no, no, no, I’m sorry, I know you’re excited, but I was pointing at her right there. (Laughter.) But I love you too, though. (Laughter.) Okay, right there — yes. No, right there — yes.

Q Me?

THE PRESIDENT: You, yes.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. My name is Aimee Vance. I’m an RN that works for the Cleveland Clinic and Community Outreach. We serve the uninsured and are doing some great things there. This is Connie Robinson; she’s a counselor also that works with me. (Laughter.) My question is, in the health care reform bill that you are putting together, are there going to be provisions for insurance companies to get paid for providing health education and health promotion type of things for their people as well as more help with mental health services, because it’s a huge deficit. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve long been a supporter of mental health services as part of a package and I think that’s important, but I really want to focus on, in addition, what you just mentioned, which is issues of prevention and wellness. This can make such a huge difference and, you know, I was meeting with some of the officers here at the Cleveland Clinic — they’re all sitting up front here; very serious guys, they do outstanding work.

One of the things that’s exciting, though, in addition to the big fancy hospital with all the fancy equipment, they’ve also — are linked up with all these family clinics all throughout the area. And one of the things that a clinic and a family physician can do is to focus on preventable diseases, making sure that you are helping somebody with a nutritionist to keep their weight down before they get diabetes as opposed to, you know, paying for a surgery for a foot amputation. (Applause.) If they already have diabetes, then having a counselor who’s working with them monthly to make sure that they are maintaining the regimens to keep their diabetes under control — that is cost-efficient.

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