President Barack Obama announced Monday a bipartisan summit next week for policymakers and legislators to discuss reforms to fix the nation's ailing health care system.
Speaking at the White House with lawmakers convened for a "Fiscal Responsibility Summit," Obama noted that "everybody here understands" how crucial compromise is for health care reform.
AdvertisementThe president also stressed that health issues are closely intertwined with the economic crisis.
"Over the long run, putting America on a sustainable fiscal course will require addressing health care," he said.
The issue "impacts businesses, workers alike ..." he added.
Obama, who said a myriad of costs must be addressed at the summit, promised during his presidential campaign to provide protection for the approximately 46 million Americans who lack health insurance.
The extent of his commitment is expected to be revealed in stark numbers Thursday as part of his first budget.
Obama also vowed Monday that his budget for fiscal 2010, starting on October 1, would be geared towards halving the trillion-plus budget deficit over a single, four-year presidential term.
"We are addressing the greatest economic crisis we have seen in decades by investing unprecedented amounts of the American people's hard-earned money," he said.
"With that comes an unprecedented obligation to do so wisely, free from politics and personal agendas."