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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 20, 2007

President Bush Discusses Health Care Initiatives
The Roosevelt Room

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      In Focus: Health Care

1:53 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: I just had a very interesting discussion with people who are deeply concerned about the status of health care in America today. These men and women around the table are charged with designing products for businesses, both large and small, and individuals.

And I discussed my health care plan that would allow -- would equalize the tax code so that the individual would be more likely to be able to purchase a plan, because I believe a good health care system is one that rewards the consumer, encourages the consumer, and makes sure the consumer has got the capacity to make viable choices. And when you have consumers in charge of their health care decisions, it is a force that is likely to keep the health care costs down.

And so part of our discussion was, how do we encourage the development of an individual market? And I thank you very much for your insights and your concerns about the current -- the state of health care today in America.

I have the duty to talk to the American people about what I think will be a better alternative than one in which the federal government makes the health care decisions for the patient and the provider. And I laid out such a plan in my State of the Union.

And now, I call upon members of the Congress to analyze this plan very carefully, to recognize the best decisions are made between the patients and their providers, and to work with the administration in a bipartisan fashion to make sure that health care is accessible and affordable for as many Americans as is possible.

We have a duty here in Washington to take care of the poor, the disabled, and the elderly, and we're meeting that duty. And now we have a duty to make sure the health care system is responsive to the American people. And I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to do just that.

Thank you.

END 1:55 P.M. EST

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