Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Wednesday compared his call to bring down healthcare costs to President Kennedy’s 1961 challenge to the nation to put a man on the moon. 

"Now is the time for our country to set out a clear challenge, like President Kennedy did, to solve our healthcare cost problems," said Whitehouse.

"I come to the floor today to call for a similar challenge to reform our healthcare delivery system," said Whitehouse. "While the goal now is different, the urgency and the need to mobilize both public and private sectors towards a common and vital purpose is the same."

Whitehouse acknowledged the difficulty of bringing down healthcare costs.

"We choose to go to the moon this decade not because [these efforts] are easy, but because they are hard," said Whitehouse, paraphrasing Kennedy.