Now, the fourth pillar of our new foundation is a 21st century health care system where families, businesses and government budgets aren’t dragged down by skyrocketing insurance premiums. (Applause.) One and a half million Americans could lose their homes this year just because of a medical crisis. Major American corporations are struggling to compete with their foreign counterparts. Small businesses are closing their doors. We can’t allow the cost of health care to continue strangling our economy.
And that’s why our Recovery Act will invest in electronic health records with strict privacy standards that can save money and lives and reduce medical error. That’s why we’ve made the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that’s one of the best ways to keep costs under control. And included in the budgets that just passed Congress is an historic commitment to reform that will finally make quality health care affordable for every American. (Applause.) So I’m looking forward in the next few months to working with both parties in Congress to make this reform a reality. We can get this done — and we have to get it done.
Now, fixing our health care system will — will require resources; it’s not going to be free. But in my budget we’ve made a commitment to fully pay for reform without increasing the deficit, and we’ve identified specific savings that will make the health care system more efficient and reduce costs for us all.
In fact, we’ve undertaken an unprecedented effort to find this kind of savings in every corner of the budget, because the final pillar in building our new foundation is restoring fiscal discipline once this economy recovers.
Already we’ve identified $2 trillion dollars in deficit reductions over the next decade. We need to do more, but we’ve already done that. We’ve announced procurement reform that will greatly reduce no-bid contracts and save the government $40 billion. We need to do more, but that’s an important start. Secretary Gates recently announced a courageous set of reforms that go right at the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and cost overruns that have bloated our defense budget without making America safer. We need to do more, but that proposal by Secretary Gates is right on target. We will end education programs that don’t work, we will root out waste and fraud and abuse in our Medicare program.
Altogether, this budget will reduce discretionary spending for domestic programs as a share of the economy by more than 10 percent over the next decade to the lowest level we’ve seen since we began keeping records nearly half a century ago. And as we continue to go through the federal budget line by line, we will be announcing additional savings, secured by eliminating and consolidating programs that we don’t need so we can make room for the things that we do need.