covered in the plan, would you potentially sacrifice the health of your
family for the greater good of insuring millions? Or would you do
everything you possibly could as a father and husband to get the best
health care and outcome for your family?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, Doctor, I think it's a terrific
question, and it's something that touches us all personally, especially
when you start talking about end-of-life care.
As some of you know, my grandmother recently passed away, which was
a very painful thing for me. She's somebody who helped raise me.
But she's somebody who contracted what was diagnosed as terminal
cancer. There was unanimity about that. They expected that she'd have
six to nine months to live. She fell and broke her hip. And then the
question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was
fragile enough that they weren't sure how long she would last, whether
she could get through the surgery.
I think families all across America are going through decisions like
that all the time. And you're absolutely right that, if it's my family
member, it's my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I
always want them to get the very best care.
But here's the problem that we have in our current health care
system, is that there is a whole bunch of care that's being provided
that every study, every bit of evidence that we have indicates may not
be making us healthier.
GIBSON: But you don't know what that test is.
OBAMA: Well, oftentimes we do, though. There are going to be
situations where there are going to be disagreements among experts, but
often times we do know what makes sense and what doesn't. And this is
just one aspect of what is a broader issue.
And if I could just pull back just for a second, understand that the
status quo is untenable, which is why you saw -- even though we've got
Republicans, Democrats, independents, people from all parts of the
health care sector represented here, everybody understands we can't keep
doing what we're doing.
It is bankrupting families. I get letters every single day from
people who have worked hard and don't have health insurance.
It is bankrupting businesses who are frustrated that they can't
provide the same kind of insurance that they used to provide to their
employees. And it's bankrupting our government at the state and federal
So we know things are going to have to change. One aspect of it,
the doctor identified, is, can we come up with ways that don't prevent
people from getting the care they need, but also make sure that because
of all kinds of skewed incentives, we are getting a lot of quantity of
care, but we're not getting the kind of quality that we need.
SAWYER: I want to ask about this, Mr. President, because you said
to me when we talked yesterday that you think if everyone has the right
information, that doctors will make the right decisions, patients will
make the right decisions. And you just said we think we do know what is
And Dr. John Corboy from Colorado, do we always know? And what
if a patient comes to you and says, no, I want that extra CT-scan, I
think I need that extra CT-scan, and you're at the risk of being sued,
among other things, what are you going to do?