Healthcare Town Hall - Page 2 of 18
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Healthcare Town Hall

0611_WIS2
(Source: White House)

For the government, the growing cost of Medicare and Medicaid is the biggest threat to our federal deficit, bigger than Social Security, bigger than all the investments that we’ve made so far. So if you’re worried about spending and you’re worried about deficits, you need to be worried about the cost of health care.

We have the most expensive health care system in the world, bar none. We spend almost 50 percent more per person on health care than the next most expensive nation — 50 percent more. But here’s the thing, Green Bay: We’re not any healthier for it; we don’t necessarily have better outcomes. Even within our own country, there are a lot of the places where we spend less on health care, but actually have higher quality than places where we spend more. And it turns out Green Bay is a good example. Right here in Green Bay, you get more quality out of fewer health care dollars than many other communities across this country. (Applause.) That’s something to be proud of. I want to repeat that: You spend less; you have higher quality here in Green Bay than in many parts of the country. But across the country, spending on health care keeps on going up and up and up — day after day, year after year.

I know that there are millions of Americans who are happy, who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan, they value their relationship with their doctor. And no matter how we reform health care, I intend to keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan. (Applause.)

So don’t let people scare you. If you like what you’ve got, we’re not going to make you change. But in order to preserve what’s best about our health care system, we have to fix what doesn’t work. For we’ve reached the point where doing nothing about the cost of health care is no longer an option. The status quo is unsustainable. If we don’t act, and act soon to bring down costs, it will jeopardize everybody’s health care. If we don’t act, every American will feel the consequences in higher premiums — which, by the way, means lower take-home pay, because it’s not as if those costs are all borne by your employer; that’s money that could have gone to giving you a raise — in lost jobs and shuttered businesses, in a rising number of uninsured and a rising debt that our children and their children will be paying off for decades. If we do nothing, within a decade we will be spending one out of every $5 we earn on health care. And in 30 years, we’ll be spending one out of every $3 we earn on health care. And that’s untenable. It’s unacceptable. I will not allow it as President of the United States. (Applause.)


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