Obama Takes Healthcare Reform to AARP

Now, if you got your car fixed at a mechanic, and three weeks later you had to go back, and you had to pay again to get your car fixed all over again, you’d be pretty mad, wouldn’t you?

And yet when it comes to health care, that happens all the time. That happens all the time. And the hospital gets reimbursed for the second time or the third time, even though they didn’t get it right the first time.

And so what we’re saying is, let’s incentivize the hospitals; we’ll pay you a little bonus if the person is not readmitted because you got it right the first time. That will save money over the long term. Those are the kinds of changes we’re talking about.

MR. CUTHBERT: We have been very geographically in-specific in our conversation so far, so let’s get geographically specific, like going to Jeanine in our audience. She’s from Fairmont, Nebraska, and has a very relevant question.

Jeanine, welcome to the tele-town hall.

Q Hi, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Hi, Jeanine.

Q I’m concerned about affordability and preexisting conditions, and I’m glad to hear you say what you have. My family and I live in rural Nebraska and my husband and I are both — are self-employed, and we’re paying — and he was originally denied because of a preexisting condition, and he’s in a CHIPS pool. We’re paying $900 a month, and we have a $8,000 deductible.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that’s tough.

Q Yes, and it’s, you know, and we’ve done this for about a year and a half. And we’re not alone. There are a lot of people who do this.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Jeanine, you are a prime candidate for the health care exchange that I just described, because essentially what you would be able to do is you could just go online, you would be able to see a list of participating insurers — which by the way, is very important, because in most states right now insurance companies are dominated by — or the insurance market is dominated by just one or two insurers, so you don’t have a lot of choices. And this way, you would have a lot of choices. They would all have to compete on the basis of price, but they’d be abiding by a certain set of rules, like you can’t exclude somebody for a preexisting condition.

And so you could then select the plan that was best for you, do your own comparison shopping; and if you qualified, then we would provide you a little bit of help on your premiums to reduce your costs. So that’s what essentially we could pay for if we take some of these inefficiencies and the waste out of the system right now. That will pay for you getting the kind of help you need, and we’d have insurance regulations in place that would protect you from being scammed in the insurance market, which unfortunately, a lot of people suffer from.

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