Obama on Health Care: Time for Compromise is Now

Feb 27, 2010 8:51am

ABC's Sunlen Miller reports: In his weekly address President Obama warns that the final version of the health care bill may not have everything that everyone wants – and there may be some disagreements that cannot be resolved. But, he says, for the sake of compromise Washington should get health reform done. 

The president called Thursday’s Blair House summit a “frank and productive” meeting and accentuated where both sides were in agreement. 

“Both sides agreed that the rising cost of health care is a serious problem that plagues families, small businesses, and our federal budget.  Many on both sides agreed that we should give small businesses and individuals the ability to participate in a new insurance marketplace – which members of Congress would also use – that would allow them to pool their purchasing power and get a better deal from insurance companies.  And I heard some ideas from our Republican friends that I believe are very worthy of consideration." 
The president went on to say that there were unresolved differences, and called for compromise.

“We disagreed over whether insurance companies should be held accountable when they deny people care or arbitrarily raise premiums.  I believe they should.  We disagreed over giving tax credits to small businesses and individuals that would make health care affordable for those who don’t have it.  This would be the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, and I believe we should do it.  And while we agreed that Americans with pre-existing conditions should be able to get coverage, we disagreed on how to do that."

The president said that some of the disagreements may be resolvable, and some may not be.

“No final bill will include everything that everyone wants.  That’s what compromise is.  I said at the end of Thursday’s summit that I am eager and willing to move forward.”

The president likened the quest for health care reform to the competition on the world stage at the Vancouver Olympics. 

“If we want to compete on the world stage as well as we’ve competed in the world’s games, we need to find common ground.  We need to move past the bickering and the game-playing that holds us back and blocks progress for the American people.  We know it’s possible to do this.” 

The president said that as the Olympic games come to a close this weekend, he wants to congratulate all the athletes who competed. 

“I especially want to say how proud I am of all the American men and women have achieved over the last few weeks.  Whether it was the men’s hockey team’s stunning upset of the Canadians on their way to the gold-medal game, Lindsey Vonn’s heroic gold-medal comeback from a shin injury, or Apolo Ohno becoming the most decorated American winter Olympian of all time, you can’t help but be inspired by the sheer grit and athletic prowess on display in Vancouver.” 

The presidnet siad it’s not just the medal count that’s inspriring, “though we’ve certainly done great on that score,” but added ,”what’s truly inspiring is the character of the men and women who have won those medals.  The sacrifices they’ve made.  The integrity they’ve shown.”  

The indomitable Olympic spirit that says no matter who you are or where you come from or what difficulties you may face, you can work hard and train hard and still triumph in the end.  That is why we watch.  That is why we cheer.  That is why in the middle of an extremely challenging time for America, we’ve been able to come together as one nation for a few weeks in February  and swell with pride at what our citizens have achieved."

- Sunlen Miller

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