TRANSCRIPT: 'Questions for the President: Prescription for America'

test, you don't then have to duplicate having two more tests with other

specialists, because they were in the room when you first met with that

primary care physician.

They know how to manage chronic diseases in an effective way so that

we have people who are getting regular checkups, if they're trying to

manage diabetes, as opposed to us paying for a $30,000 foot amputation

because we didn't manage the disease properly.

So they are doing all kinds of smart things that we could easily

duplicate across the system, but we don't. And our job in this -- in

this summer and this fall, in which I think everybody understands we've

got to move in a different direction, is to identify the best ways to

achieve the best possible care in a way that controls costs and is

affordable for the American economy long term.

SAWYER: Mr. President, you mentioned the Mayo Clinic, and I'm going

to cross as I talk here, if you don't mind. But I've been reading a lot

of the e-mail questions that we've been getting online. They've been

saying the Mayo Clinic is exactly the point. They're doing it. Private

industry is doing it. Private hospitals are doing it. The Safeway

company is taking action.

Why get the government involved in something that is being done

already in the private sector and, with the right initiative and

impetus, could be done in the private sector without government involvement?

OBAMA: Well, you just said "with the right initiative." And,

unfortunately, that initiative hasn't been forthcoming. And as a

consequence, what's happening is -- here's what's happening to ordinary

families, because I know one of those boxes was, "How does this affect you?"

The average family has seen their premiums double in the last nine

years. Costs for families are going up three times faster than wages.

So if you're happy with your health care right now -- and many people

are happy with their health care right now -- the problem is, 10 years

from now, you're not going to be happy, because it's going to cost twice

as much or three times as much as it does right now.

Out-of-pocket expenses have gone up 62 percent. Businesses

increasingly are having to cut back on health care or -- and if you talk

to ordinary workers, they're seeing this all the time -- employers, even

if they don't want to, are having to pass on costs to others.

So -- so, unfortunately, whatever it is that we're doing right now

isn't working, Diane. What we see is great examples of outstanding

care, businesses that are working with their employees on prevention,

but it's not spreading through the system.

And, unfortunately, government, whether you like it or not, is going

to already be involved. You know, we pay for Medicare. We pay for

Medicaid. There are a whole host of rules both at the state and federal

level governing how health care is administered.

And so the key is for us to try to figure out, how do we take that

involvement, not to completely replace what we have, but to build on

what works and stop doing what doesn't work? And I think that we can do

that through a serious health care reform initiative.

GIBSON: But you say we have to figure out how to do that. Don't we

have to do that first, figure out so people have a good sense that my

medical care is going to be sufficient for me?

OBAMA: The...

GIBSON: That's what people are afraid of...

OBAMA: Well...

GIBSON: ... that they're not going to get...

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