Obama Hosts Cyber Town Hall - Page 23 of 23

Obama Hosts Cyber Town Hall

So this is why any reform of the health care system I think has to address this issue, and to say we are going to allow anybody to get health insurance. And if you’ve got a preexisting condition you’re not going to be excluded but you’re going to be able to obtain health insurance. And if you can’t obtain it through a private plan then there is going to a public plan that is available in some way to give you insurance, or insurers are obligated to provide you with insurance in some way.

Now that’s a principle. What are the details of how we’re going to do that? There are a lot of different approaches.

We have seen some progress with the insurance companies where they have said, we are willing to take everybody in, but only if everybody is required to be in. That’s the position that they’re taking right now. So the idea is you combine a rule that eliminates preexisting condition exclusions with mandatory health insurance, just like auto insurance is mandatory. That’s a proposal they’ve put forward.

Now, that’s progress in the sense that they’ve acknowledged that this preexisting condition situation is a real problem. Whether that ends up being the best mechanism — during the campaign, I was skeptical of mandates only because my attitude was the reason people don’t have health insurance is not because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it. And if we drive down cost, then people will have it.

But that’s part of the debate that’s going to be taking place over the next several months as we try to develop a health care plan for the future.

Okay? Listen, I know that there were other people who had questions, both here in the live audience, as well as in our virtual audience. But we’re out of time. I just want to say thank you for participating. Thanks for paying attention. And we need you guys to keep paying attention in the months and years to come. (Applause.)

Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)

(Source: White House)