The American people sent me here to do a job. And that's what I intend to do. And let me be very clear when I say this: The American health care system is broken. This Congress will send me a bill that begins to fix it.
There have been a lot of people out there lying to the American people about what we're trying to do. That's because they're bought and paid for by people who benefit from the status quo. Well, the status quo has left us spending more money than any other nation on health care while getting the approximate health care benefits of Costa Rica.
When members of this body tell you, the American people, that there will be death panels, or that the federal government is going to deny treatment to its political opponents, they are lying to you. They are lying to you because they want re-election money from the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies. It's as simple as that.
And that goes for both sides of the aisle. Corporate PAC money is as big a problem for Democrats as it is for Republicans.
I didn't run for this office to simply hold it. I ran for president because I saw an opportunity to fundamentally change the way the government is run in this town. And because I saw problems spiraling out of control while talking heads blather about the latest cable-news non-story.
And so I challenge the members of this Congress: put a real health care reform bill on my desk, one that includes provisions to force insurance companies to stop denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, one that expands coverage for children and seniors, one that strengthens the current Medicare system, and one that contains a robust public option to both cover the uninsured and drive down costs for all Americans.
These are the parameters I expect you to work in, and I will personally sit down with any member of Congress genuinely interested in negotiating within them. But I'm done pretending that Republicans are negotiating in anything remotely resembling good faith. I've got the votes on my side of the aisle, and if we have to push this process through via reconciliation, that's exactly what we intend to do.
The American people sent me here to do this job, ladies and gentlemen. And I'd rather get it done and serve one term than serve two terms without it. That's what I meant when I talked about bringing change to Washington. That's what the folks who knocked on doors for me in Dubuque and Derry thought they were getting, that's what folks in Charlotte and Carmel thought they were getting when they voted for me. And that's exactly what I intend to give them: Low-cost, high-quality health care as a matter of right and not of privilege.
The American people deserve better than what they're getting -- and that statement covers both health care insurance and Congressional representation. It's time to stop posturing. Put a bill on my desk.