Obama: I Did It Because It Was 'Good For the Country'
June 28, 2012 - 12:51 PM
"Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country, whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it."
The president discussed at some length what the law "means for you" -- for people who have health insurance and for people who don't. He said the law's requirements will make everyone more secure.
He also addressed the individual mandate, which compels all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. The Supreme Court said it's a tax. But Obama talked about the mandate in terms of "responsibility."
"Today the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance. This is important for two reasons: First when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums.
"And second if you ask insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but don't require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they're sick to buy the care they need, which would also drive up everybody else's premiums.
"That's why even though I knew it wouldn't be politically popular -- and resisted the idea when I ran for this office -- we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy insurance should take the responsibility to do so."
Obama conceded that the debate over his health care law has been "divisive" and he acknowledged that people have "very real concerns."
"It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics," he said. "I did it because I believed it was good for the country.I did it because I believed it was good for the American people."