Vice President Remarks on Health-Care Reform

The White House
Wednesday, July 8, 2009; 10:33 AM

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Good morning, folks. How are you? I want to thank you all -- I apologize for being late. I was at a meeting with Senator Baucus and Senator Reid, and Senator Baucus was on his way over here with me for this announcement and he -- there was a vote called in the Senate. So, again, I apologize to our participants here.

I want to thank everyone for joining me here today. And as you know, we have with us today a constellation of people who have been able to put together a great, great proposal with Senator Baucus and the President: Richard Bracken, the president and CEO of the Hospital Corporation of America; Wayne Smith, President and CEO of Community Health Systems; Sister Carol Keenan who -- I told her that I was a good kid in school. (Laughter.) And she is the CEO of Catholic Health Association of the United States. And Richard Umbdenstock -- am I pronouncing it correctly, Richard? Rich, actually -- and president and CEO of the American Hospital Association.

I was going to introduce Max Baucus, but you got to go up to the Hill and see him -- he's voting now. And obviously, our Secretary -- Secretary Sebelius.

Look, I want to warmly welcome the hospital CEOs here with us today. You know, every day you see firsthand the impact the skyrocketing health care costs have had on American families. And today, they've come together to do something about those health care costs.

Folks, reform is coming. It is on track; it is coming. We have tried for decades -- for decades -- to fix a broken system, and we have never, in my entire tenure in public life, been this close. We have never been as close as we are today, and things remain on track.

We have these hospitals working with us, and we have the pharmaceutical industry working with us; we have doctors and nurses and health care providers with us; we have the American public behind us. And everyone sees that we need change. And in my view, we're going to get that change, and we're going to get it this year.

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