So this is not like Canada where suddenly we are dismantling the system and everybody’s signed up under some government program. All we’re doing is we’re saying, if you’ve already got health care, the only thing we’re going to do for you is we’re going to reform the insurance companies so that they can’t cheat you, and we are — if you don’t have health insurance, we’re going to make it a little bit easier for you to be able to obtain health care. And hopefully, overall, we are going to change the delivery systems so that we are saving money as a society over the long term.
So nobody is being forced to go into this system, and frankly the — if we do this right, then all we’re actually doing is giving the American people the same option that members of Congress have, because they’ve got a pretty good deal right now. And the fact of the matter is, is that they don’t have to worry about losing their health insurance. They have a bunch of different options and different plans to select from. So if they’ve got a good deal, why shouldn’t you? (Applause.)
MR. CUTHBERT: We hope that you’ve found this tele-town hall with President Obama, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand, and AARP President Jennie Chin Hansen to be informative, interesting, helpful, and stimulating of further discussion. If you have a personal story you’d like to share with us about the impact the high cost of health care has had on your family, please stay on the line to leave us a message. Be sure to leave your contact information so we can get back to you.
Now for some closing remarks, let’s get back to Barry Rand. Barry.
MR. RAND: Well, I want to thank you again, Mr. President, for joining us, listening to our members, whether they’re here in person or on the phone or on the Web, and for hearing their stories, and getting a chance to talk directly and answer their questions. So we thank you very much for that. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just want to say thank you to all of you for taking the time to get informed on this issue. And I want to thank AARP for all the good that it has done to provide greater security and stability in the lives of people who are older.
You know, this week celebrates the anniversary of Medicare, and when you look at the Medicare debate it is almost exactly the same as the debate we’re having right now. Everybody who was in favor of the status quo was trying to scare the American people saying somehow that government is going to take over your health care, you won’t be able to choose your own doctor, they’re going to ration care, they’re going to tell you you can’t get this or that or the other. And you know what? Medicare has been extraordinarily popular, it has worked, it has made people a lot healthier, given them security. And we can do the same this time.