Friday, March 06, 2009

There is now a government website,, which will serve as a place to share information, solicit feedback, and report on progress in reforming our broken healthcare system.

Here's a video of Obama speaking about the challenge at the end of yesterday's healthcare summit. Full transcript here; an excerpt:

In this effort, every voice has to be heard. Every idea must be considered. Every option must be on the table. There should be no sacred cows. Each of us must accept that none of us will get everything that we want, and that no proposal for reform will be perfect. If that's the measure, we will never get anything done. But when it comes to addressing our health care challenge, we can no longer let the perfect be the enemy of the essential. And I don't think anybody would argue that we are on a sustainable path when it comes to health care.

Finally, I want to be very clear at the outset that while everyone has a right to take part in this discussion, nobody has the right to take it over and dominate. The status quo is the one option that's not on the table, and those who seek to block any reform at all -- any reform at any costs will not prevail this time around.

I didn't come here to Washington to work for those interests. I came here to work for the American people -- the folks I met on the campaign trail, the people I hear from every single day in the White House. Folks who are working hard, making all the right decisions, but still face choices that no one in this country should have to make: how long to put off that doctor's appointment; whether to fill that prescription; when to give up and head to the emergency room because there are no other options.

I've read some of the many letters they've sent asking me for help. And they're usually not asking for much. I don't get letters where people are just asking for a free ride, for a handout. Most of them are embarrassed about their situation; they would rather not have to ask for help. They start, usually, by saying that they've never written a letter like this before. Some end by apologizing -- saying they've written to me because they have nowhere else to turn; asking me not to forget about them, not to forget about their families.

But there are a lot of people out there who are desperate. There's a lot of desperation out there. Today I want them, and people like them across this country, to know that I have not forgotten them. We have not forgotten them. They are why we're here today -- to start delivering the change they demanded at the polls in November; that they have continued to demand since the election. And if we're successful, if we can pass comprehensive reform, these folks will see their costs come down, they'll get the care they need, and we'll help our businesses create jobs again so our economy can grow.

So it's not going to be easy. And there are going to be false starts and setbacks and mistakes along the way. But I'm confident if we come together and work together, we will finally achieve what generations of Americans have fought for and fulfill the promise of health care in our time. And what a remarkable achievement that would be -- something that Democrats and Republicans, business and labor, consumer groups and providers, all of us could share extraordinary pride in finally dealing with something that has been vexing us for so long.

So let's get to work. Thank you.

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