Healthcare Town Hall - Page 17 of 18

Healthcare Town Hall

But I think that this is extraordinarily important. We can all take steps to become healthier. And there is nothing wrong with us giving a little bit of a nudge in moving people in the direction of healthier lifestyles.

But look, it’s hard, and changing habits are hard, and it starts with our children, which is why, as a part of our overall health care reform we’ve also got to talk about, for example, our school lunch programs. (Applause.) And, you know, you’re at the head of a school board, as well as a nurse, I know you’re struggling with this. The cheapest way to feed all the kids is to have the frozen tater tots, and you get them out and heat them up, and then you’ve got pizza and fries. And then the soda companies, they all say, we’ll put in a free soda machine in there so the kids can have as much soda as they want. And pretty soon our kids are seeing their rates of Type 2 diabetes skyrocket. They’re not getting the exercise, because a lot of schools are running out of money when it comes to PE. Kids are sitting in front of the TV all day long.

Michelle and I always used to talk — when we were kids, folks our age and over will remember this — (laughter) — basically, your folks, especially during the summer, you would leave at 8:00 a.m., and then maybe you came home for some lunch, and then you’d be gone until dark and you’d come back in. And that whole time you were out there running around. Well, kids aren’t doing that. Now, some of it is safety issues, and that’s why public safety is important; having playgrounds is important; having adults who are willing to volunteer for Little League and basketball leagues — that’s all important. But we’ve got to get our children into healthier habits. That in turn will lead to healthier adults.

And so government can’t do all of this. I’m the first one to acknowledge this. That’s why I’m always puzzled when people — they go out there creating this bogeyman about how, you know, “Obama wants government-run” — I don’t want government to run stuff. Like I said, I’ve got enough stuff to do. (Laughter.) I’ve got North Korea, and I’ve got Iran. And I’ve got Afghanistan and Iraq. (Applause.) I don’t know where people get this idea that I want to run stuff, or I want government to run stuff. I think it’d be great if the health care system was working perfectly and we didn’t have to be involved at all. That would be wonderful. That’s not how it’s worked. We’ve got a 50-year experiment in that. It’s not worked well.