The Obama Plan in 4 Minutes

The President:
Here are the details
that every American needs to know about this plan. First, if you are among the
hundreds of millions of Americans who already
have health insurance, nothing in this plan will
require you or your employer to change the coverage or
the doctor you have. Under this plan, it will be
against the law for insurance companies to deny you
coverage because of a preexisting condition. As soon as I sign this bill,
it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your
coverage when you get sick or water it down when
you need it the most. They will no longer be able to
place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you
can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. We will place a limit on how
much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because
in the United States of America, no one should go broke
because they get sick. And insurance companies
will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine
checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and
colonoscopies — (applause) — because there’s no reason we
shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon
cancer before they get worse. If you lose your job
or you change your job, you’ll be able to get coverage. If you strike out on your own
and start a small business, you’ll be able to get coverage. We’ll do this by creating a
new insurance exchange — a marketplace where individuals
and small businesses will be able to shop for health
insurance at competitive prices. Now, for those individuals and
small businesses who still can’t afford the lower-priced
insurance available in the exchange, we’ll
provide tax credits, the size of which will
be based on your need. For those Americans who can’t
get insurance today because they have preexisting
medical conditions, we will immediately offer
low-cost coverage that will protect you against
financial ruin if you become seriously ill. This was a good idea when
Senator John McCain proposed it in the campaign,
it’s a good idea now, and we should all embrace it. (applause) But an additional step we can
take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a
not-for-profit public option available in the
insurance exchange. (applause) Let me be clear. It would only be an option for
those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose
it and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep
their policies affordable and treat their customers better I
will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits —
either now or in the future. (applause) We’ve estimated that most of
this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the
existing health care system, a system that is currently
full of waste and abuse. The only thing this plan would
eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars
in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted
subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies. And we will also create an
independent commission of doctors and medical experts
charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead. (applause) These steps will ensure that you
— America’s seniors — get the benefits you’ve been promised. And we can use some of the
savings to fill the gap in coverage that forces too many
seniors to pay thousands of dollars a year out of their own
pockets for prescription drugs. Many in this chamber —
particularly on the Republican side of the aisle — have long
insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws
can help bring down the cost of health care. I know that the Bush
administration considered authorizing demonstration
projects in individual states to test these ideas. I think it’s a good idea, and
I’m directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services
to move forward on this initiative today. The time for bickering is over. (applause) The time for games has passed. (applause) Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the
best ideas of both parties together, and show the American
people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to
deliver on health care.

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