Text from Obama’s Healthcare Speech That Addresses Seniors

For those of you who missed President Obama’s speech last night, below is the text of the section of the speech addressing seniors.  The speech was delivered on September 9, 2009, in a joint session of the US Congress.

In fact, I want to speak directly to America’s seniors for a moment, because Medicare is another issue that’s been subjected to demagoguery and distortion during the course of this debate.

More than four decades ago, this nation stood up for the principle that after a lifetime of hard work, our seniors should not be left to struggle with a pile of medical bills in their later years. That is how Medicare was born. And it remains a sacred trust that must be passed down from one generation to the next. That is why not a dollar of the Medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan.

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 – subsidies that do everything to pad their profits and nothing to improve your care. And we will also create an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead.

These steps will ensure that you – America’s seniors – get the benefits you’ve been promised. They will ensure that Medicare is there for future generations. 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 pocket for prescription drugs. That’s what this plan will do for you. So don’t pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut – especially since some of the same folks who are spreading these tall tales have fought against Medicare in the past, and just this year supported a budget that would have essentially turned Medicare into a privatized voucher program. That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.

Now, because Medicare is such a big part of the health care system, making the program more efficient can help usher in changes in the way we deliver health care that can reduce costs for everybody. We have long known that some places, like the Intermountain Healthcare in Utah or the Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania, offer high-quality care at costs below average. The commission can help encourage the adoption of these common-sense best practices by doctors and medical professionals throughout the system – everything from reducing hospital infection rates to encouraging better coordination between teams of doctors.

Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan. Much of the rest would be paid for with revenues from the very same drug and insurance companies that stand to benefit from tens of millions of new customers. This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money – an idea which has the support of Democratic and Republican experts. And according to these same experts, this modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long-run.

  • Barbara

    It would be helpful to have quotation marks around the President’s exact words, so that folks would not read half the article and then realize they are not still reading Ryan Malone’s thoughts and opinions and waiting for the President’s text to begin.

  • Ryan Malone

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for the comment. I followed the same protocol as MSNBC did, but I added some italics and a clear division between my introduction and President Obama’s to be clear. Appreciate the feedback.

  • Lou

    Ryan,
    Excellent job of presenting current information that is spot on for your audience. Many seniors may have missed hearing the speech but you have given them a second chance at understanding the importance of the president’s words. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  • http://www.myhealthbridge.com Matt Johnson

    Thanks, Ryan, for posting this. We appreciate your attention to elder care issues…thanks again and we look forward to reading more……

  • http://www.raadg.com Raad Ghantous

    Thanks for posting this Ryan…always can count on InsideElderCare.com to be current and the great resource for information that you have made it…

    Keep up the good work :)

    Raad

  • Lee Sorenson

    Hi, Ryan,
    Thanks so much for the post, which clearly indicated which part was your intro and which the President’s words (text, as you stated). There has been so much misinformation presented as fact about healthcare reform, especially with regard to Medicare, that it is doubly important that the correct information be presented by all means available, including your site. You have a powerful tool at your disposal, and you are using it well!

  • http://www.ReverseWithLinda.com Linda Lewis

    Ryan – thank you very much for posting this. I wish everyone could read it and understand that our President feels strongly about helping seniors; that their care is more important than profits. And everyone could be better off in the long run.

  • http://boomersretirementnetwork.com Bobby

    I think Obama is dedicated to saving the medicare system. I think making medicare more efficient and trying to cut out the fraud and misuse of the system is a great idea. I hope he gets the support he needs from congress as well as the support he needs from the American people to make such proposed reforms a reality. Obama has a tough road ahead of him. Medicare reform is going to be a difficult task.

  • Susan Gamble

    Nice post, thanks for sharing! Personally, I provide assisted living in Laconia NH, and I believe that the government can be doing a lot more for seniors when it comes to healthcare and home care. Countries like Canada, Germany, and many in Central Europe are far ahead of the the United States when it comes to healthcare. I hope this becomes more of a priority in the coming years.