By Michael O'Brien - 08/22/09 06:04 AM EDT
Framing his signature initiative as the hallmark of this political generation, the president again laid out his arguments to overhaul the health system in America.
"So today, I want to spend a few minutes debunking some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the Internet, on cable TV, and repeated at some town halls across this country," the president added.
Obama said his proposed reforms would not extend government health insurance to illegal immigrants, nor would it change the law to allow government funding for abortions. He also castigated worries about "death panels" for end-if-life care as "an offensive notion," and denied that his plans would lead to a government takeover of healthcare.
The public (or "government-run") option for consumers contained in many of the bills before Congress would also only be an option for consumers and not mandatory, Obama added, blaming insurance companies for having struck up worries about the plan.
The president framed the opportunity to pass healthcare reform this fall, though, as the opportunity of a generation.
"We can push off the day of reckoning and fail to deal with the flaws in the system, just as Washington has done, year after year, decade after decade," he said. "Or we can take steps that will provide every American family and business a measure of security and stability they lack today."
"I can promise you this," Obama added. "If we pass health insurance reform, we will look back many years from now and say, this was the moment we summoned what’s best in each of us to make life better for all of us."
"And that is what our generation of Americans is called to do right now," he said.