From: Gillman, Todd [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2015 02:45 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP
Subject: travel pool #6/Nashville event
President Obama spoke on health care for about 14 minutes and then took questions from the audience for another 50 minutes or so. Open press. Check transcript. His remarks ended about 2:45pm CT.
He talked up the benefits of generic drugs as a way to hold down costs in the health care system and called on states that have resisted expansion of coverage under the ACA to get on board. A few men and women in the audience wore white medical coats.
“It’s not as if we’ve solved all of the problems in our health care system. There’s still a lot of waste in the system. The quality of the care isn’t always where it needs to be,” he said. “…Because of politics, not all states have taken advantage of the options that are out there. My hope is that more of them do.”
States that expanded Medicaid and created their own marketplaces have generally lower rates of uninsured, he said. “Washington is a crazy place. But that doesn’t mean everyplace has to be crazy. I’d like to see some good sense spring forth from the great state of Tennessee.”
He took a question from a man named Davy Crockett and later sang a bar or two from the TV show theme song. Crockett was wearing a purple T-shirt. “You don’t have a beaver cap,” Obama said, to which Crockett replied, “I’ve got one at the house.”
Brenda Gilmore, a member of the Tennessee House, got in a question. She said a number of state lawmakers are on hand for this event, and support him. She asked for tips on ways to persuade the governor and colleagues on the other side.
“If ordinary folks feel it’s important, elected officials start to respond,” Obama said. People forget, he added, that the model used in the ACA was originally embraced by Republicans, Heritage, Mitt Romney etc.
A man asked if Obama would expand ACA coverage to people in the country illegally. Obama noted that the law doesn’t allow that and pivoted to a call for immigration reform.
“Why don’t we give them a pathway so they can be legal. If we do that.. .then this problem that you just mentioned takes care of itself,” Obama said.
One of his biggest challenges as president, he said, is persuading people that “investments in people oftentimes save us money in the long term…. We make this mistake over and over again,” he said, referring to health care and pointing to the impulse to trim food stamp benefits, even though it hurts children’s school performance.
"Open your hearts," he said. "We're all in this together."
Attached: letters provided by the White House that Bryant and Canfield sent the president, redacted to remove home addresses, phone #s and emails.
Todd J. Gillman
Washington Bureau Chief
The Dallas Morning News
529 14th Street NW, suite 930
Washington, DC 20045