OBAMA: Well, keep in mind-- I mean, I'll give you an example. Because I-- I think that-- there may be some confusion about what happens, in terms of public programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, versus the private sector. In public programs like Medicaid-- like Medicare, the Republican Congress, several years ago, instituted something called Medpak (PH), which every year recommends ways that Medicare could be more efficient. And provide the same quality of service to our seniors at less cost.
SAWYER: That cost--
OBAMA: The problem--
SAWYER: --is still going up.
OBAMA: And the reason is, is because Congress never implemented (LAUGH) any of these plans. So, part of-- on the-- on the public side, one of the things that we have said is, let's have this-- medical board actually-- you know, have a little bit of teeth. Let's allow recommendations that they make get voted up or down by Congress, as opposed to Congress just putting those recommendations into-- a file somewhere.
In terms of private plans, what we think is going happen is, we're going provide a menu of options for people. If you have health care, you can keep your health care. If you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. We're not going to-- tell that you've got to switch one way or the other. But like Federal employees, you will suddenly have a menu of options that you can take a look at. And we think that the forces of competition, good information, consumers are going be making good choices, all that is going help drive down costs, give people better quality, and allow more people to get coverage.
SAWYER: People have been hearing you say these-- these words about if you like your doctor--
SAWYER: --you'll keep your doctor period. If you like your--
SAWYER: --health plan, you'll keep your health plan period. Yet, I thought today in the press conference I heard you amend it to say, "If your employer decides to change it, we don't have control over that." So--
OBAMA: Whoa, whoa, whoa. But, of course, there-- I mean, that's-- that's the case whether we pass health care or not. I mean, the-- look, the-- the-- the fact is that right now, all across the country, people are losing their health care. Every day. You-- you can travel-- into Washington, D.C. And you'll find somebody on the street whose employer just dropped them from health care. Or who has decided to increase their deductibles. Or increase their premiums.
So, those choices are being-- made by employers constantly, right? I can't pass a law that says, "I'm sorry, employers, you can never make changes to the health care plans that you provide your employees." What I can say is that the government is not going force you to-- your employer or you to join a government plan, for example. If you're happy with it, and your employer's happy with it, keep it.
If your employer is not providing you the health care that you need, then we're going give you a set of options to make sure that you continue to have health care. And I think that is the kind of commitment that-- the American People expect-- and, you know, it-- and I think is achievable, as long as we stay focused on driving down costs, as well as expanding coverage.
SAWYER: On cost.
SAWYER: And I've been out with my pen and pencil all weekend.
SAWYER: Please tell me some of this is complicated for you.