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Obama news conference: President calls energy legislation ‘historic’

June 23, 2009 |  9:50 am

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference The president addressed both his energy plan and his healthcare reform plans in the rest of his opening statement today. He thanked members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for helping the House move ahead on “historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America.

It is legislation that will finally spark a clean-energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.”

On healthcare, the president didn’t say much that we haven’t already heard, and he offered scant details on what promises to be one of the signal domestic battles of his administration.

“Like energy, this is legislation that must and will be paid for. It will not add to our deficits over the next decade. We will find the money through savings and efficiencies within the healthcare system – some of which we’ve already announced.

“We will also ensure that the reform we pass brings down the crushing cost of healthcare. We simply can’t have a system where we throw good money after bad habits. We must control the skyrocketing costs that are driving families, businesses and our government into greater and greater debt.

“There is no doubt that we must preserve what is best about our healthcare system, and that means allowing Americans who like their doctors and their healthcare plans to keep them. But unless we fix what’s broken in our current system, everyone’s healthcare will be in jeopardy.

Unless we act, premiums will climb higher, benefits will erode further and the rolls of uninsured will swell to include millions more Americans. Unless we act, one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on healthcare within a decade. And the amount our government spends on Medicare and Medicaid will eventually grow larger than what our government spends on anything else today.

“When it comes to healthcare, the status quo is unsustainable. Reform is not a luxury, it is a necessity. And so I hope that Congress will continue to make significant progress on this issue in the weeks ahead.”

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Mandel Ngan / /AFP / Getty Images

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