Healthcare Town Hall - Page 12 of 18

Healthcare Town Hall

But part of the reason is it’s not just the politics of it, it’s also because these are genuinely complicated issues, and nobody has all the right answers. So what we have to do is to find the 80 percent of stuff that everybody agrees on, things like electronic medical records that can eliminate errors in hospitals, because right now nurses can’t read the doctors’ handwriting. But if it comes out on a PDA that they’re reading, then they’re more likely to be accurate. And reducing paperwork — everybody agrees, there’s no reason why you should have to fill out five, six, eight forms every time you go to see a doctor. Everybody knows that. (Applause.) Huge amounts of wasted money. Electronic billing, and billing that you can understand — everybody knows that’s something that needs to be done. (Applause.)

So there are things that can be done that Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, we all know need to happen. The challenge is going to revolve around, how do we deal with the 20 percent of the stuff where people disagree?

This whole issue of the public plan is a good example, by the way. I mean, right now, a number of my Republican friends have said, we can’t support anything with a public option. It’s not clear that it’s based on any evidence as much as it is their thinking; their fear that somehow, once you have a public plan, that government will take over the entire health care system. I’m trying to be fair in presenting what their basic concern is. And that’s going to be a significant debate. And what we’re trying to explain is, is that all we’re trying to make sure of is that there is an option out there for people where the public — where the free market fails. And we’ve got to admit that the free market has not worked perfectly when it comes to health care, because you’ve got a lot of people — (applause) — who are really getting hurt: 46 million uninsured, a whole bunch of more people who are underinsured who are seeing their premiums and deductibles rise. So I think a lot of the questions you’re asking, those details are exactly what we’re trying to work out.