TRANSCRIPT: President Obama's Interview on "Good Morning America"

SAWYER: Spoke--

OBAMA: But I-- I have to tell you that-- this is an area where-- people have-- made some pretty compelling arguments to me that if we want to have a system that drives down costs for everybody, then we've got to have healthier people not-- opt out of the system. And-- I think that you have to be careful to make sure that there's a waiver. So that if we haven't made health care affordable yet, you're not punishing people, not only because they can't afford health care, but-- now giving 'em an additional fine.

And any program that we put in place, I think there will be some phase in period. So that we can calibrate and adjust to make sure that-- there really is affordability there-- before we start-- trying to penalize people. But-- I think-- my thinking on the issue of mandates has evolved. And I think that that is typical of most people who study this problem deeper.

SAWYER: Ninety-five percent-- you said today. See, I'm shameless on asking the human interest questions. But--

OBAMA: Yeah, I-- well, I-- this is-- a favorite for every reporter. So, the-- you know, I-- I've answered it as often as I can. I'm sure I will continue to answer it.

SAWYER: But is there a time of day that's the hardest?

OBAMA: Diane--

SAWYER: Most people find--

OBAMA: --you know, I think-- I've answered that one.

SAWYER: I think people wonder-- at the end of the day, should we all be assuming personal responsibility in a different way. And should there, in fact, be some cost to all of us if we don't take care of ourselves. Or this new, "We're all in this together." We're--

OBAMA: I think everybody does have responsibilities. And-- I think that you're seeing most employers-- who provide health insurance starting to think about how can they ramp up wellness-- programs for their employees. One of the things that Michelle and I working diligently on is how can we-- engage-- kids to start-- healthy habits. And-- you know, and-- I think everybody understands that-- perfection is not the goal. But moving in the right direction is.

SAWYER: Thank you so much.

OBAMA: Thank you. Great to talk to you.

SAWYER: Great to talk to you.

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