On March 3, 2010, President Obama spoke from the White House’s East Room to summarize the state of health reform, briefly explain his newest proposal, and urge Congress to schedule a vote within the next few weeks. The speech lasted about 15 minutes and was a little over 2,500 words long. But a lot of those words were simply filler, “thank yous,” and political banter.

In order to get to the heart of the speech, we’ve created an outline of the president’s remarks, which highlights Obama’s key points.

I. Thank you

II. Review of where health care stands

a. Both sides agree:

i. The status quo is not working

ii. Health insurance is too expensive

iii. Rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid is troubling

b. Disagreements – how to fix it?

i. Scrapping private insurance for government-run program, which would be neither practical nor realistic in America

ii. Loosen regulations on the insurance industry to lower cost (where most Republicans stand), but there is a concern that this would just cause carriers to raise premiums and further deny access

iii. Obama’s suggestion – give doctors and nurses the power over health care

III. Obama’s proposal – change three things

a. Fix insurance companies

i. No pre-existing condition limitations

ii. No rescission

iii. Cap on out-of-pocket expenses

iv. Monitor premium increases

b. Give uninsured Americans same choice of health insurance as members of Congress

i. Tax credits for those who can’t afford it (middle class)

ii. Will cost $100 billion per year, but will come from the $2 trillion a year America already spends on health care

c. Bring the cost of health care down; cost-cutting measures mirror the Senate bill, with savings verified by the Congressional Budget Office.

IV. Proposal was also based on Republican summit suggestions

a. Funding state grants on medical malpractice reform

b. Curbing waste and abuse

c. However, some Republican ideas were not incorporated, so if they’re not happy with the proposal, they can vote against it.

V. Why not pursue a piecemeal approach?

a. Republicans argue we can’t afford to help everyone right now; their proposal covers 3 million people, versus Obama’s 31 million.

b. Unless everyone has access to coverage, insurance reform is impossible

VI. Another year of negotiations won’t help

a. Reform can’t start over because the insurance companies aren’t starting over

b. Starting over would lead to more delays, which may last a decade or more

c. This debate has been going on for decades, not just this year

VII. Congress should schedule a vote in the next few weeks

VIII. Simple majority vote is OK; many important pieces of legislation were passed on such a vote, e.g.:

a. Welfare reform

b. Children’s Health Insurance Program

c. COBRA

d. Both Bush tax cuts

VIII. Shared personal stories

If you’d like to take a look at the president’s comments, word for word, you can view the full text of President Obama’s speech at the White House Web site.

Heather Trese is the associate editor of the Agent’s Sales Journal. She can be reached at HTrese@AgentMedia.com, or 800-933-9449 ext. 225.