Full text of Speech by President Obama to the AMA
From the moment I took office as President, the central challenge we have confronted as a nation has been the need to lift ourselves out of the worst recession since World War II. In recent months, we have taken a series of extraordinary steps, not just to repair the immediate damage to our economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting and sustained growth. We are creating new jobs. We are unfreezing our credit markets. And we are stemming the loss of homes and the decline of home values.
But even as we have made progress, we know that the road to prosperity remains long and difficult. We also know that one essential step on our journey is to control the spiraling cost of health care in America.
Today, we are spending over $2 trillion a year on health care - almost 50 percent more per person than the next most costly nation. And yet, for all this spending, more of our citizens are uninsured; the quality of our care is often lower; and we aren't any healthier. In fact, citizens in some countries that spend less than we do are actually living longer than we do.
Make no mistake: the cost of our health care is a threat to our economy. It is an escalating burden on our families and businesses. It is a ticking time-bomb for the federal budget. And it is unsustainable for the United States of America.
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It is unsustainable for Americans like Laura Klitzka, a young mother I met in Wisconsin last week, who has learned that the breast cancer she thought she'd beaten had spread to her bones; who is now being forced to spend time worrying about how to cover the $50,000 in medical debts she has already accumulated, when all she wants to do is spend time with her two children and focus on getting well. These are not worries a woman like Laura should have to face in a nation as wealthy as ours.
Stories like Laura's are being told by women and men all across this country - by familie...