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Presidential address to joint session of Congress, Feb. 24, 2008, and Republican response

What was said about health care?

Tag cloud of Obama's speech

Wordle: Obama's Feb, 24, 2008, speech
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President Barack Obama

In Tuesday night's presidential address, President Obama named "health care" as one of three areas that are critical to the country's economic future. He said the country will invest in electronic health records, new technology to reduce errors and preventive care. He also mentioned "comprehensive health care reform" and that he is bringing together " businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans" to work on the issue. Here is an excerpt of his remarks on health care:

"This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds.  By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes.  In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages.  And in each of these years, one million more Americans have lost their health insurance.  It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas.  And it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget. 

"Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold.

"Already, we have done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last thirty days than we have in the last decade.  When it was days old, this Congress passed a law to provide and protect health insurance for eleven million American children whose parents work full-time.  Our recovery plan will invest in electronic health records and new technology that will reduce errors, bring down costs, ensure privacy, and save lives.  It will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American by seeking a cure for cancer in our time.  And it makes the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that is one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control. 

"This budget builds on these reforms.  It includes an historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform – a down-payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every American.  It’s a commitment that’s paid for in part by efficiencies in our system that are long overdue.  And it’s a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come. 

"Now, there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform, and that is why I’m bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers, Democrats and Republicans to begin work on this issue next week. 

"I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process.  It will be hard.  But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough.  So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year. "

Read the president's complete speech on the White House Web site.

Tag cloud of Jindal's speech

Wordle: Obama's Feb, 24, 2008, speech
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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Jindal offered the Republican response, in which he talked much less about health care much less than Obama did.

"To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage - period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage. We oppose universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients - not by government bureaucrats. We believe Americans can do anything - and if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens."

Read Jindal's full remarks on the Republican Party Web site.