THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Statement by the President
Hard working middle class Americans have moved a step closer to real health security today. House Speaker Foley and Majority Leader Gephardt said they would put forward a bill that achieves universal coverage and controls costs. They have met their goal and the goal of the American people.
The House bill tells the American people that they have been heard. The bill is simpler, more flexible and more sensitive to the needs of small business. Gone is the bureaucracy they didn't like. Protections for small businesses have been strengthened. And the bill is being phased-in over a longer period. All Americans can keep their health plan and doctor and everyone will have coverage.
The bill also recognizes that shared responsibility is the best way to achieve universal coverage. It works. Building on the current system where nine out of ten Americans receive private insurance through the workplace just makes sense. It works abroad and it's supported here at home by the AMA, AARP, AFL-CIO, hundreds of thousands of big and small businesses and a majority of the American people.
Speaker Foley, Majority Leader Gephardt, the Committee and Subcommittee chairs and many members of the House should be commended for their tireless work to fashion a bill to go to the House floor. They chose a pragmatic and more moderate path, they've achieved the shared goal of universal coverage, and it works for ordinary Americans.
The time has come to pull together and work in a bipartisan manner to deliver guaranteed health care coverage to all Americans.