President Barack Obama acknowledged Tuesday that he has grown "a little frustrated" with objections to his health care reform goals.
"This is one of those situation where it is so obvious that the system we have isn't working for many people and we can do better," the president said in a virtual town hall hosted by AARP, the lobbyist group representing older Americans.
"Sometimes I get a little frustrated," he said. "We have got to have the courage to be willing to change things."
After opening remarks, Obama took health-care related questions from individuals throughout the nation. Meanwhile members of his own party in Congress are proving reluctant to support his desired reforms.
Obama continued to stress the need for a systematic overhaul of the current system. But a good part of the AARP forum was spent dispelling concerns held by individual callers.
On the topic of rationing, the president insisted that "nobody's going to be forcing you to make a set of decisions on end-of-life care based on some bureaucrat in Washington."
When pressed why members of Congress wouldn't themselves be required to get insurance through a government-run plan, the president stressed that the legislation currently being debated wouldn't require anyone to buy into any program. In the process, he referenced the nationalized Canadian model -- often used as a political boogeyman by conservatives -- to underscore the more moderate approach his administration is taking.
"This is not like Canada where we are suddenly dismantling the system and suddenly you are signed up under some government program," he said.
The president ended the forum by offering a historical contrast between the current debate and that which surrounded the creation of Medicare.
"Everyone who was in favor of the status quo was trying to scare the American people [in 1965] saying 'government is trying to take over health care,' 'you can't choose your doctor,' 'they are going to ration care,'" Obama said. "You know what? Medicare has been extraordinarily popular. It has worked ... And we can do the same this time."
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