President Barack Obama defended his record on Monday while bemoaning the politics of selfishness.
Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser held at the Beverly Hills mansion of basketball great Magic Johnson, Obama said the policies he’s championed reflect his “values.”
“When I talk about the Affordable Care Act, all the fighting that we’ve been having to do, it’s not just a matter of dollars and cents and why it’s good for the economy to make sure that people aren’t going to the emergency rooms because that’s the most expensive care and why the only way we’re going to lower healthcare costs over the long term is if we start delivering health care smarter,” Obama said, according to a White House pool report.
“It’s also a values question – do we want to live in a country as wealthy as we are where if somebody gets sick they lose their home, they go bankrupt, they have to weigh can I go right now to the emergency room knowing that that may mean I can’t pay for my child’s school tuition? That’s not the country I want to live in and that’s not the country you want to live in, which means we’ve got to fight for it.”
He said that disputes over the budget, climate change and immigration reform are also “values questions.”
“We know what works, and what’s stopping us is a failure of our politics and a lack of ambition and we shy away from what might be hard,” he said. “And our politics all too often encourages people to think selfishly or short-term, and that’s what the debate in Washington is about and that’s what the debate in this country generally is about right now.”