Obama on the Record: News Conference on Healthcare Reform

Now, I do think it’s important to get this right. And if at the end of the day I do not yet see that we have it right then I’m not going to sign a bill that, for example, adds to our deficit; I won’t sign a bill that doesn’t reduce health care inflation so that families as well as government are saving money. I’m not going to sign a bill that I don’t think will work. And my measure of whether things work or not are listening to the American people but also listening to health care experts who have shown that in some communities, health care is cheaper and delivers a better result. I think we can achieve that.

So I’m confident that if we just keep at it, we keep working, we’re diligent, we’re honest, if we take criticisms that are out there and modify whatever plans are already working through Congress so that it meets those concerns and those criticisms, that we can arrive at a bill that is going to improve the lives of the American people.

And I’ll give you one specific example. I think that there was legitimate concern that we had not incorporated all of the measures that could reduce health care inflation over the long term in some of the versions of health care reform that were coming out of the committee. Well, over the last week, working with not only health care experts but also members of Congress who are concerned about this, we actually have now gotten a commitment to incorporate an idea that has a panel of doctors and health care experts advising on how we can get a better value for our money in Medicare. And every expert out there says this can be a valuable tool to start reducing inflation over the long term.

So can I say this, though — if we hadn’t had any kind of deadline, that change probably would have never surfaced until who knows when. And so I want to do this right, but the American people need some relief.

Chuck Todd.

Q Thank you, sir. You were just talking in that question about reducing health care inflation, reducing costs. Can you explain how you’re going to expand coverage? Is it fair to say — is this bill going to cover all 47 million Americans that are uninsured, or is this going to be something — is it going to take a mandate, or is this something that isn’t — your bill is probably not going to get it all the way there? And if it’s not going to get all the way there, can you say how far is enough — you know, okay, 20 million more, I can sign that; 10 million more, I can’t?

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