Obama's Words: Obama's public option "false that it will insure illegal immigrants" no application to those "here illegally"
For Immediate Release September 9, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS
ON HEALTH CARE
Washington , D.C.
8:16 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, and the American people:
There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
SOUTH CAROLINA KLAN SUPPORTER: You lie! (Boos.)
THE PRESIDENT: It's not true. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up -- under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place. (Applause.)
Now, my health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a "government takeover" of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare. (Applause.)
So let me set the record straight here. My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. That's how the market works. (Applause.) Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama , almost 90 percent is controlled by just one company. And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down. And it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badly -- by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest, by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage, and by jacking up rates.
Insurance executives don't do this because they're bad people; they do it because it's profitable.
Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan. (Applause.)
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