Obama: Families in urgent need of health reform

Families are in desperate need of health reform, President Obama said in remarks at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, July 20. In his statement, after meeting with the hospital's administrators, doctors and nurses, the president also warned against Republican obstructionism on health reform.

Health professionals, although giving a heroic effort, he said, 'are forced to fight through a system that works better for drug companies and insurance companies than for the American people.'

'Over the past decade premiums have doubled. Out-of-pocket costs have shot up by a third,' Obama pointed out. More and more American families resort to emergency rooms as the main source of access to care, which ensures that medical care costs more without making Americans any healthier. 'That's the status quo, and it's only going to get worse,' he added.

'If we do nothing, then families will spend more and more of their income for less and less care,' he said. Without reform, the number of people who lose their coverage because they change jobs or lose their jobs will continue to grow. Children will continue to be excluded from insurance coverage due to chronic conditions like asthma. Take-home pay and the financial stability of small businesses will continue to be at risk, if Congress fails to act on reform urgently, Obama said.

'Yet, even as America's families have been battered by spiraling health care costs, health insurance companies and their executives have reaped windfall profits from a broken system,' he declared.

'The need for reform is urgent and it is indisputable,' Obama continued. 'No one denies we're on an unsustainable path.'

Health reform, he said, will make care more efficient and less costly by systematizing electronic records, providing more choices of insurance plans and doctors and by eliminating the practice of denying care to families and children because of preexisting conditions.