And everybody's families, I think, have had to experience this in
one way or another. That's -- that's the reason we need reform right now.
GIBSON: We're going to take one more commercial break, Mr.
President. When we come back, we're going to get into the issue of
whether or not in a reform measure there should government insurance for
people, because a lot of people are very uncomfortable with that idea.
"Prescription for America" continues.
ANNOUNCER: "Questions for the President: Prescription for America"
continues. Once again from the White House, Charles Gibson and Diane
GIBSON: As I probably could have anticipated, this is running a
little longer than we thought. The president's been nice enough to
stay. He would say that he would stay during your local news, and we
will continue this discussion during the "Nightline" half-hour. And so
we're going to get into that public option and whether there should be
government insurance as part of all of this.
But I do want to get to cost, because, as you know, the
Congressional Budget Office is estimating that this is going to cost
over the next 10 years $1 trillion to $2 trillion. There's all these
estimates. And the question is, can we afford it? And there's a lot of
people who have that question on their mind.
SAWYER: And bringing in Christopher Bean from Maryland.
Christopher Bean, Allint Tech Systems Human Resources Department: Good evening. It's a pleasure to be here and meet you.
BEAN: I do have a -- kind of a two-base question. I'm going
to read it, because I'm very nervous.
In light of this proposed health care reform and national health
care system, I have many concerns. One of them is the big -- is the big
brother fear. How far is government going to go in reference to my
personal life and health care treatments?
And then, secondly, how and who will pay for the national health
OBAMA: Good. Well, look, both are great questions. We've been
sort of circling around your first question, the whole big brother
fear. What kind of insurance, Chris, do you have right now? What kind
of coverage do you have?
BEAN: Blue Cross Blue Shield.
OBAMA: It's a Blue Cross Blue Shield. So if you're happy with your
plan, as I said, you keep it.
Now, there are some restrictions we want to place on insurers.
Pre-existing conditions is a tool that has prevented a lot of people
from either not being able to get insurance or, if they lose their job,
they can't find insurance. We think those policies should end.
So there are going to be some areas where we want to regulate the
insurers a little more. Now, in exchange, they're going to have a
bigger customer pool. And so we think that they may not make as much
profit on every single person that they provide coverage to. On the
other hand, overall, I think they can still be profitable.
In terms of cost, understand that the system is already out of whack
in terms of costs as it is. So if we do nothing, costs are going to
keep on going up 6 percent, 7 percent, 8 percent per year, and
government, businesses and families are all going to find themselves
either losing their health care or paying a lot more out of pocket.
That's going to happen if we do nothing.
What I've said is, let's change the system so that our overall cost
curve starts going down, by investing in a range of things, prevention,