Transcript: Terry Moran Interviews President Obama

If we do nothing, I can guarantee your premiums will double, we'll continue to see 14,000 people a day lose their health care. More employers are going to either load up more costs onto their employers or just get rid of health care altogether. And it's guaranteed that we'll blow the federal budget to a point where we essentially can't provide other vital services.

And you're already seeing that at the state level where states because Medicaid expenses have basically had to cut back on things like higher education, which pushes tuition up. All those things we know will happen if we do nothing. And, you know, my job is just to remind people that standing still is not an option.

MORAN: One of the concerns is cost. People are looking at the cost of this plan, the Congressional Budget Office. By the way, you invited the director of the Congressional Budget Office to the White House.

OBAMA: Right.

MORAN: He had given this report, which was very damaging to your plan. A lot of people thought that was improper, that you were trying to muscle an independent arbiter of this debate.

OBAMA: Terry, first of all, he was remarking on the House bill, not my plan, right? So, I think it's important to get that clear. Number two, I invited him to come alongside a whole range of other health care experts to tell me exactly what they thought the most effective ways to bend the cost curve would be. And in fact, there was a pretty broad consensus that the plans that we had put forward around the MedPAC proposal, for example, which is essentially a commission to deal with doctors and health experts finding the best ways to improve quality while lowering costs. That that, in fact, was one of the most important levers to drive health costs savings in the system.

It turns out that we had proposed that a month before Mr. Elmendorf had presented his views. It wasn't at that time incorporated in the House bill. It now has been incorporated in concept in the House bill. In fact, that meeting was very productive in helping to encourage House members to adopt a proposal we'd already put forward.

MORAN: So you weren't leaning on him?

OBAMA: Terry, we don't lean.

MORAN: You're the president. You can.

OBAMA: My job as president is to get the facts and the facts are on our side in this situation.

MORAN: Do you think one of the problems is that Americans use too much health care? That we get too many drugs, too many surgeries, too many treatments, too many tests? And that one of the things that your plan would do is cut back on how much health care we use as a country?

OBAMA: I think that we don't get the right health care in the right circumstances. Now, there are some people who don't get enough health care. That's absolutely certain. Folks who are using the emergency room when they should be going to see a doctor for regular checkups.

But I think the big problem is, is that -- and I mentioned this in the town hall meeting. We'll have a situation in which we take five tests when we know one test would be sufficient, as long as that one test would have been forwarded to the other doctors, and specialists, and nurses who needed it to help treat the patient. That doesn't happen right now. But, we're paying for five tests.

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