Video: Obama Addresses Nation Following Health Vote

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obama1[Video below.] President Obama, with Vice President Biden at his side, hailed historic passage of the health care reform package last night, stating that the vote proves government “still works for the people.”

Passage, he said, showed that lawmakers “didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear.”

“Instead,” he said, “we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”

The president thanked members of Congress, stating that while they didn’t have an easy vote, they made “the right vote.” He also thanked his staff, the vice president and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The vote, he said, “answers the dreams of so many who have fought for this reform.” He said the package was “worthy of the people we were sent here to serve” and hailed the people who had fought for it, among those who knocked on doors to encourage their neighbors to back the bill.

“This moment is possible because of you,” said the president.

Mr. Obama went through the bill’s provisions, stating that “this isn’t radical reform, but it is major reform.”

The bill “will not fix everything that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction,” he said. “This is what change looks like.”

The president called passage a “victory for common sense.” He said there will be a “frenzy of instant analysis” over the political implications of passage, but that “long after the debate fades away and the prognostication fades away and the dust settles,” what will be left over will be “a health care system that incorporates ideas from both parties.”

The president called on the Senate to pass the House reconciliation bill quickly, an unlikely prospect as Republicans have vowed to try to send the bill back to the House and slow down the process with amendments.

He said that while “the work of “revitalizing our economy goes on,” lawmakers now “march on with renewed confidence, energized by this victory on their behalf.”

It meant “another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream,” he said.

Mr. Obama said lawmakers had “answered the call of history.”

“We did not shrink from our challenge, we overcame it,” he said. “We did not fear our future, we shaped it.”

A White House aide told CBS News that the president watched the House vote with Biden and staff in the Roosevelt Room. The aide said there were high fives and hugs all around after the vote.

CLick below to view a video of Obama’s comments following the vote:

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{CBS/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Sholom Aleichem from Bournemouth, UK!

    Can one of you good American yiddn kindly explain to this Englisher greenhorn just why you all seem to object to the US healthcare bill?

    I have lived in the United Kingdom all my life, apart from 22 years spent in EY. I was born in 1948, so I was born and I have lived all my life under the umbrella of either the British National Health Service, or Kupat Holim (in EY).

    I underwent a prolonged series of diagnostic tests for a serious gastro-intestinal condition, which led to a four-hour surgical operation which, thanks to Hashem, I have survived and from which I am now recovering. I worked out that, if I had had to pay for these FREE services from the UK NHS, I would have had to pay slightly more than £360,000 which is roughly $240,000. I get all this, and every other possible medical service I will ever need from my birth, right through to the day I die, for a tiny percentage deducted from my salary. Now that I am aged 60+ I get ALL my medications for free.

    Every inhabitant of Great Britain is automatically insured and entitled to FREE healthcare. Meanwhile, 40,000,000 Americans have no health insurance whatsoever.

  2. It is a philosophical debate between republicans and democrats : is health care a right or a privilege. For those of us who think that it is a privilege, anything the government does to try and make it a right will result in higher taxes and less availability to the health care we have had until now. The question is always asked: why do so many individuals from countries with government supported health care come to the US for treatment?

  3. To #1
    I could write about this endlessly, but I’m just going to make it sort and say America is not England. The American gov. is now trillions of dollars in debt and will not be able to pay it off because of all the excessive spending it cannot afford.
    The gov. is choking the middle class by slapping them with legalized rippoff taxes. Now with the reformed health plan you can be sure the taxpayers will pay for health insurance out of their own pockets. The middle class and rich will pay for the poor, including all the illegal immigrants who will access the emergency room for reg. medical treatment where they cannot be turned away.
    Now in America, since we are the leaders in medical advancement, the medical care costs are significently higher than in England. And while in your case the medical care of your country came through, there are thousands of people who come to America for treatments and medical care they cannot get anywhere.
    In the long run the health care reform will collapse like all the other social programs which are functioning only due to heavy borrowing from foreign countries. The endless borrowing will eventually come to an end as the foreign lenders will not keep on lending continuously without a viable plan for repayment of their loans.
    What should have been done was to do away with trial lawyers and have caps for medical malpractice. Medical malprctice cases should’ve come before a panel, not through the courts with the plaintiffs saving legal costs and totaly eliminating malpractice insurance for the doctors, which would in turn would have significently lowered medical costs. In addition there should’ve been a “three strikes and you’re out program ” where the bad doctors would lose their licenses to practice after botching up three times.
    The Democrats as well as the Republicans skirted this elementary solution as they would stand to lose monetary support from these trial lawyers and other lobbyists who would become obsolete were such type of health reform bill passed.
    What could you do if America is run by self-serving individuals, who half of them (219 Senators) repeatedly ignored the majority of people’s will?

  4. Dear Brit: The situation in the US is different because of the health insurance issue. In Britain, as I understand it a citizen can go to the state-run health service for health care. This is a system that I as an American would favor; it would permit those who don’t have access to health care through health insurance to obtain care. In the US, if you have health insurance, most of the bill is paid by the insurance company directly to the doctor or physician. The legislation enacted supplies health “insurance” to the populace. However, the problem is that the doctors and hospitals which get reimbursed for their services will not be able to survive with the minimal reimbursement offered by the new health insurance. This is already happening in the States; hospitals are closing because of poor reimbursement and doctors are refusing to take Medicare (the health plan for seniors). The cost of this plan is also astromical and will bankrupt our country. It’s a bonus for lawyers; trying to figure out the darn thing; and for the pharmaceutical companies who will now have a lot more paying customers. I doubt, as do many others, that it will, in the end, provide the health care that many need. The other thing to consider is that in the States, insurers will pay $1 million for a liver transplant; hundreds of thousands for a premature baby; and $100,000 for complicated heart surgery. I don’t think that the british public health service provides that level of care so comparsions between the two systems are inapposite. I, as many others, recognize that the health care system needs to address the needs of those without health insurance. However, the health care bill, as enacted, will not service those who need help; will bankrupt the country; and, will probably diminish the medical services available as doctors and hospitals are forced out of business.

  5. To contributors 2 and 3 (and to boro parker as well): thanks for your non-partisan and well-reasoned responses. I know understand the situation in the ‘goldene medinah’ a lot more than I did this time yesterday.

    We also have “health tourism” here in the UK, but the UK Border Agency (parallel to your Immigration Service) has got extremely tough in the last year or two and turns such people away at the ports of entry.

    In the (very rare) cases where the British National Health Service cannot treat a patient, he/she will be referred to the relevant treatment centre, possibly in the USA, but the NHS will always underwrite 100% of the patient’s travel and treatment costs.

    In other words, the US taxpayer would not have to fork out a single red cent.

    British tourists to the United States are not *obliged* to take out travel and health insurance, but it would be a very, very foolish person who did not, given the astronomically high cost of treatment in American hospitals.

    May we all remain healthy and live to 120!

    Best wishes for a kosher and lebedige Pesach.

  6. It might make for interesting analysis if the readers of this site would, anonymously declare whether or not they or there family have:
    1 – Rely on free medical assistance
    2 – Live in Section 8 housing
    3 – Use food stamps
    4 – Sit and learn without any job
    5 – Own stocks or bonds

    A simple yes or no questionnaire is all that would be required, and then see the results.
    Perhaps the editors might consider this as a public service? I don’t think any Rabonim need be consulted to see if this “Census” would be against Torah.

    It is easy to be a knocker complaining of higher taxes, etc. But when push comes to shove, I don’t see many of us saying to the Federal Gov’t. to get out of Iraq, and all the other areas where we are attempting to “Bring Democracy” to a particular country. The cost
    is far greater in these “Actions”, not to mention the same lawmakers refusing to put a cap on disgraceful bonuses for Banks and Wall Street firms.

    #3 is correct when he states “Now in America, since we are the leaders in medical advancement, the medical care costs are significently higher than in England. And while in your case the medical care of your country came through, there are thousands of people who come to America for treatments and medical care they cannot get anywhere.”
    It only proves that the US has an almost exclusive title to providing the most advanced treatments.
    Decent medical care needn’t be expensive. Look at Cuba. Almost anyone outside the US understands that Cuba has one of the highest standards of both medicine and education, regardless of it’s lack of wealth.

    Now I will get off of my soap box, and let another bleeding heart liberal speak.

  7. #1- a bill like this is not going to give everyone health insurance like in UK, it would just give health insurance to the lower income who are not eligible now. For the middle class, which is most of the country it would just mean the taxes and cost of insurance would go up. We are already paying about 12,000 a year for insurance. No one is going to offer us free insurance.


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