OK

This weekend I wrote the health care speech I want to hear our president deliver.  It's below the fold.

Updated with video:

My fellow Americans,

As a Senator and as a candidate for this office, I said that America's
health care crisis must be addressed, not with platitudes and not with
half measures, but with real reform.  As I said earlier this year,
real health care reform must respect these principles:

The rising costs of health care must be brought down;
Americans must have the freedom to keep the doctor & health care plan
they have - or to choose another if they want;
All Americans must have affordable, quality health care.

I called on Congress to give me legislation that satisfied these
principles, because the American health care system is in crisis;
because the status quo is morally offensive and economically
untenable; and because the citizens of the greatest nation in the
world deserve the world's greatest health care system.

Our Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle have
worked hard to bring me such a bill.  I must single out Senators
Baucus and Grassley of the Finance Committee for their diligent
good-faith efforts to produce a bill that members of both political
parties could support; I also applaud the good bipartisan work of the
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Senator
Kennedy's bill.

In the House, Congressman Dingell's bill has been approved by both the
Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Labor Committee; I
thank the hardworking Congressmen and Congresswomen who serve on those
committees and their chairs, Congressman Rangel and Congressman
Miller, for passing this bill despite aggressive resistance from
organizations and individuals that oppose - many of them in good faith - changes to our health care system.

Our representatives - on both sides of the aisle, and in both houses
of Congress - have, as I said, worked very hard to bring me a bill
that satisfies the three simple - albeit difficult - principles I
enumerated.  I thank the Congress and particularly the leadership,
Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi, for taking this critical
issue so seriously and working so hard to address it.  It is for such
important issues - issues that affect us all, and affect us deeply -
that these institutions exist; for such issues that our government of,
by, and for the people was created.

I thank the Congress, but I must today report to you that their
efforts to produce a health care reform package satisfying the
principles I laid out - a package that brings down health care costs,
preserves Americans' freedom to use the physician and health plan of
their choice, and provides affordable, quality health care to all
Americans - these efforts have failed.

As many of my Republican friends have pointed out, as the non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office report concludes, the plans emerging from
Congress do not satisfy the first of these principles.  The system
these reforms produce will cost more than our current system.  That's
understandable - universal coverage means that 46 million additional
Americans will have health care, and we all know how much health care
costs.  It's understandable, but unacceptable; we can't continue to
pay ever-increasing costs for health care, even if we achieve the
essential goal of covering all Americans.  The current bills do not
reduce cost - therefore I will not sign them into law.

I will instead reiterate the needs of the American people.  We must
have universal, affordable, quality coverage.  We must have choice.
And we must have cost savings.

There are those who will say - several have already said - "it can't
be done."  I say it can.  We can bring quality health care to all
Americans while cutting costs.  The current bills failed to do this
for a very simple reason.  The current bills neglected to address the
single greatest discretionary cost in our medical care system.  We all
know what that cost is, and we all know why the current bills have
failed to address it.  Today I am calling on Congress to bring me a
bill that removes that cost.

That cost is the enormous overhead of private insurance.  While
Medicare - a public health care system, a "government" system as my
friends across the aisle like to call it - has overhead costs
amounting to less than three pennies from every dollar spent, private
insurers take two dimes.  That represents seventeen percent of the
national health care budget going into inefficient paperwork,
exhorbitant salaries, and profit to the investors in health insurance
companies.

Today I call on Congress to put a bill on my desk that covers all
Americans with affordable, high-quality care, includes a wider choice
of physicians than they already have, and costs less.  We can do it -
I know we can do it, because the bills are already written.

My good friend, Senator Sanders, has put forth a bill in the Senate,
the American Health Security Act of 2009, which meets these
requirements.  In the House, my good friend John Conyers has produced
the United States National Health Insurance Act - a bill with 86
cosponsors.

Both of these bills send fear into the hearts of insurance company
executives - and millions upon millions of dollars into political
campaign coffers and television ads.  Because these bills do address
what the other bills did not: they are Single Payer bills, meaning
that the systems they create can operate at Medicare's three-penny
cost, rather than Aetna's two dimes.  Single Payer health care will
cover all Americans, rich and poor, white, black, and latino, young
and old, male and female, employed and unemployed.  It will give us
better health care, greater choice of physicians.  And it will cost
less.

There is one thing this bill cannot be, in all likelihood - and that
is bipartisan.  My friends across the aisle do not approve of Single
Payer health care, and I respect their principled position - but I
disagree with it.  Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi have
assured me - and I assure you today - that every Democrat will vote
for this bill, because it is what America needs.  The House and Senate
will pass a Single Payer health care bill within the next 30 days, and
I will sign it.  America's badly broken health care system will begin
to heal, and every American will have high-quality, affordable health
care.

Thank you.

Originally posted to cmanaster on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 09:39 PM PDT.

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