Obama on the Record: News Conference on Healthcare Reform

Q And what about yourself and Congress? Would you abide by the same benefits package?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I would be happy to abide by the same benefit package. I will just be honest with you — I’m the President of the United States so I’ve got a doctor following me every minute. (Laughter.) Which is why I say this is not about me. I’ve got the best health care in the world. I’m trying to make sure that everybody has good health care — and they don’t right now.

Lynn Sweet. Oh. (Laughter.) Well, I said Steve Koff — but he just stood up, huh?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s not fair. Shame on you. (Laughter.) All right, get in there real quick.

Q — got the Cleveland connection, so I appreciate that. You cited the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinics as models for the delivery of health care in the past. The Mayo Clinic, though, has some problems with the House proposal saying they’re not focused enough on patients and on results. What do you expect to achieve tomorrow by going to the Cleveland Clinic — which hasn’t stated an opinion — and are you expecting some form of endorsement from the Cleveland Clinic?

THE PRESIDENT: I am not expecting an endorsement. The Cleveland Clinic is simply a role model for some of the kind of changes that we want to see. I think it’s important to note that the Mayo Clinic was initially critical and concerned about whether there were enough changes in the delivery system and cost-saving measures in the original House bill. After they found out that we had put forward very specific mechanisms for this MedPAC idea, this idea of experts getting the politics out of health care and making decisions based on the best evidence out there, they wrote in their blog the very next day that we actually think this would make a difference. Okay?

All right, I tried to make that short so that Lynn Sweet would get her last question in.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Recently Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I should say at the outset that “Skip” Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts. What’s been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house, there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place — so far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into — well, I guess this is my house now so — (laughter) — it probably wouldn’t happen. But let’s say my old house in Chicago — (laughter) — here I’d get shot. (Laughter.)

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