Obama Takes Healthcare Reform to AARP

And so part of the insurance reforms we want to institute is to make sure that there’s what’s called a community rating principle that keeps every insurer operating fairly so that they can’t just select the healthy, young people. If they want to participate in, for example, this health care exchange, they’ve got to take everybody. And that will help I think reduce costs or level out costs for older Americans. And we also want to enshrine a principle in there that says no discrimination against women, because there is still oftentimes a gender bias in terms of some of the coverage that people receive.

MR. CUTHBERT: We go next to North Carolina for a question we had all week last week. I think every town hall had this one. It’s from Colin. And, Colin, go ahead and ask this question. Go ahead, Colin.

Q This is his wife, Mary.

THE PRESIDENT: Hi, Mary.

Q Hi.

THE PRESIDENT: What happened to Colin? (Laughter.)

Q Well, I’m the one they talked to.

THE PRESIDENT: I got you. That’s how it is in my house, too. (Laughter.)

Q I have heard lots of rumors going around about this new plan, and I hope that the people that are going to vote on this is going to read every single page there. I have been told there is a clause in there that everyone that’s Medicare age will be visited and told to decide how they wish to die. This bothers me greatly and I’d like for you to promise me that this is not in this bill.

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I guarantee you, first of all, we just don’t have enough government workers to send to talk to everybody, to find out how they want to die.

I think that the only thing that may have been proposed in some of the bills — and I actually think this is a good thing — is that it makes it easier for people to fill out a living will.
Now, Mary, you may be familiar with the principle behind a living will, but it basically is something that my grandmother — who, you may have heard, recently passed away — it gave her some control ahead of time, so that she could say, for example, if she had a terminal illness, did she want extraordinary measures even if, for example, her brain waves were no longer functioning; or did she want just to be left alone. That gives her some decision-making power over the process.

The problem is right now most of us don’t give direction to our family members and so when we get really badly sick, sadly enough, nobody is there to make the decisions. And then the doctor, who doesn’t know what you might have preferred, they’re making decisions, in consultation with your kids or your grandkids, and nobody knows what you would have preferred.

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