Daily Video

July 21, 2009

NewsHour Interview With President Obama

In this video, Jim Lehrer sits down with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the administration’s efforts to push health care reform legislation through Congress and the state of the nation’s ailing economy.

With health care reform next on the president’s agenda and the debate over the cost of any plan heating up Capitol Hill, President Obama stressed the importance of finding a solution now, arguing that lowering health care costs is key to fixing the economy.

But the president also acknowledged the difficulties of compromise on health care legislation saying, “There’s a reason why this hasn’t been done in fifty years.”


“We’ve got 46 million people without health insurance. It is bankrupting families; it is bankrupting businesses and ultimately could bankrupt the federal government. So they know that. They want change. Now, when you start getting into details, it’s pretty easy to get people wondering, ‘Gosh, you know, is the devil — I know better than the devil I don’t.'” – President Obama

“Well, here’s what I think — that people like myself, who can afford to pay a little bit more in taxes, should do so in order to help people who are desperate for a little bit of security when it comes to their health care. – President Obama

“We have literally been waiting 50 years and we still haven’t gotten it done. And the longer we delay, the more those special interests that benefit from the system as it is, the more they are going to fight change. And when you’ve got doctors, nurses, hospitals, the AARP and even the drug companies — as well as major employers like Wal-Mart — saying now is the time for us to bring about some change, I think it’s time for us to bring about some change.”

Warm Up Questions

1. What are some major policy initiatives on the president’s agenda right now?

2. What is health insurance?

Discussion Questions

1. Jim Lehrer noted that President Obama’s approval ratings have slipped in recent weeks. Why do you think that is?

2. What are the most important issues you would like to see the president address?

3. Do you believe that health care is a fundamental right? Why or why not?

4. During the interview, President Obama said he believes that it is fair to ask wealthier Americans to pay more in taxes so that more Americans can have health care. What do you think?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

In-depth Coverage: Rx for Reform

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