Chapter[ Speech - Remarks on American Health Choices Plan
Section[ About the Plan
Well, today Americans are impatient. We've seen that doing nothing makes the problem worse. We've gone from 39 million uninsured in 1994 to 47 million today. From spending 14% of our Gross Domestic Product for health care to spending 16%. And now we are spending 50% more per person than the next highest spending country in the world, Switzerland, which has high quality and good outcomes for the people there. So today we are spending more money and covering fewer people and too many of our families are paying the price. We know we have to act. And so the question is, if union leaders and employers can come together, that the Mayo Clinic has just done an extensive survey including 400 experts coming to a report urging that we have health care reform, if Democratic and Republican Governors and legislatures can work together on health care, if doctors, nurses, patients, hospital administrators, CEOs, small business owners can all agree that it is time for a change, then why can't Washington?
I believe that together we can change Washington by sticking to our principles and reaching out to find common ground. America faces a choice: continue the status quo as more and more people lose coverage or change our system to cover all of our people. I believe that is America's choice, to do something about health care -- America's choice to tackle problems of cost, quality, and coverage. It should be every American's choice to have the kind of health care that they want. That choice is at the heart of my plan.
I call my plan, the American Health Choices plan. This plan is the result of a thorough analysis of the nature and extent of the health care crisis, starting with the reality that roughly eight in ten of the uninsured, those who come through the doors of this Medical Center, come from working families, most are middle class. And families earning between $25,000 and $75,000 dollars a year are the fasted growing group of the uninsured. We all know that younger adults, ages 25-34 and older adults, ages 45-64, are the most susceptible to losing insurance coverage, indicating that it's hard to obtain coverage when you first start out in the world of work and harder to maintain it as you age and experience health problems. Finally, employer sponsored health insurance is on the decline. In 2007, 60% of employers offered health benefits, down from 69% six years ago. This is at a time when people are changing jobs more frequently than ever before. Many Americans are now self-employed, running businesses out of their homes and they struggle to buy health insurance. My plan takes all of these realities into account and addresses them head on. And this plan isn't just my plan. It's the product of hundreds of discussions with thousands of people in hospitals, and union halls, homes and businesses across America and going forward in this campaign and then as President, I'm going to keep reaching out, asking for ideas, not just in improving and enacting the plan, but in the daily work to make it a reality.