Obama Delivers Ringing Appeal for Health Care Reform

Speaking before a rare joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama pressed lawmakers for an end to the “bickering” and for immediate action in passing comprehensive health care reform.

“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last,” the president told Congress, as he urged members to push politics aside and think about the 46 million Americans currently living without health insurance, and the millions more paying thousands of dollars into plans rigged with loopholes, high deductibles, and inadequate coverage.

“Our collective failure to meet this challenge – year after year, decade after decade – has led us to the breaking point,” said President Obama. “Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy.”

President Obama stood strongly behind his promise to provide all Americans with affordable, quality health care with consumer protections that prohibit insurance companies from dropping coverage, denying coverage because of preexisting conditions, and charging exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses. He reiterated his goal of creating a market of insurance options, known as an “exchange,” to include a public option that will promote competition and provide those without coverage with affordable options to choose from. And, he reassured the American people that the plan does nothing to harm Medicare – in fact, it’ll provide the program a much-needed boost and sustainability. Obama also promised that no one will be forced to change their plans or their doctor. And, that the bill will not add to the country’s $1 trillion plus deficit, but rather significantly shrink it.

Click here for a transcript of the president’s remarks to Congress.

For more information about health reform, click here.