Obama Says Reform Would Keep Health Insurers Honest

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Obama on health insurance reform
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President Obama, speaking about health insurance reform during a town hall meeting at Central High School in Grand Junction, Colo. on Saturday, seems to have his goals set at keeping health insurance companies honest. Targeting honesty among health insurance companies has drawn cheers from listeners at Town Hall meetings.

Obama says, "We're going to ban arbitrary caps on benefits. We'll place limits on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses." Affordable health insurance could then become a reality for millions of uninsured Americans. He says health insurance reform is for "ordinary Americans, no different than anyone else, held hostage by health insurance companies that deny them coverage, or drop their coverage, or charge fees that they can't afford for care they desperately need."

Obama also spoke about “death panel” myths being perpetrated, stating that health insurance reform includes a clause making it mandatory to “pull the plug on granny” - buzzwords that seem to invoke misconceptions about health insurance reform, and unnecessary fear, especially among senior citizens. He referenced his own grandmother who died two days before he was sworn into office, saying "I know what it's like to watch somebody you love who’s aging deteriorate, and struggle with that. Pulling the plug on grandma? When you start making arguments like that, that's simply dishonest."

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Obama talks about providing incentives to hospitals and health care providers that can lead to lower cost health insurance. “Let me give you an example. Right now if you go to your doctor and you get a test, a lot of times that test won't be forwarded to the next doctor or specialist that you have to see. You have to take another test. You might have to take three or four or five tests by the time your treatment is all completed. That's a waste of money. And if we can incentivize the provider to say, do one test and then e--mail the results to everybody who might be providing treatment, or the patient might be referred to, that right there saves a lot of money”. He added…”we also want to see in the private insurance market that health providers start thinking smarter and providing better care, which often turns out to be lower--cost care. Reducing the cost of health care ultimately means cost savings on health insurance plans for the public.

Obama says if we do nothing toward affordable health insurance, “We will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day. Premiums will continue to skyrocket, going up three times faster than your wages. The deficit will continue to grow because most of it is Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare will go into the red in less than a decade. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against people just because they’re sick.”

Obama emphasized that health insurance reform is not going to put private health insurance companies out of business. The goal of reform is to make health insurance affordable for everyone, while keeping health insurance companies honest. Additionally, everyone with private insurance will be able to keep their current plan.

Transcript

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