George W. Bush photo

Remarks Following a Discussion on Health Savings Accounts and an Exchange With Reporters in Oklahoma City

September 12, 2008

The President. I want to thank our participants for joining me here in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I want to thank the mayor, Members of Congress, United States Senator. Most importantly, I want to thank women entrepreneurs. Seventy percent of all new jobs in America are created by small-businesses owners. Today with us aresmall-business owners, people who've taken risk in order to realize dream, and in so doing have provided job opportunities. These are the job creators of the vibrant economy here in Oklahoma.

One of the real issues—there's a couple of issues that face obviously a small-business owner. One, are they—do they have a product anybody wants to buy? But also taxes, high taxes make it harder to stay in business. I strongly urge the Congress to make the tax relief we passed permanent so that taxes won't increase on small businesses.

But another issue that I hear all the time when I'm talking to small-business owners is the issue of health care costs. If you listen to anybody who owns a small business, they will tell you that the rising cost of health care is troubling not only to their balance sheet, but to their soul, because they want their employees to have the best. A small-business owner really does care a lot about their employees.

Today we're talking about a way for small businesses and individuals—and large businesses, for that matter—to help to deal with rising health care costs. Our goal is to make sure health care is available and affordable. And once—one way to help deal with rising health care costs is what's called health savings accounts. These are ingenious products to help people save, incent people to, you know, take care of their bodies, and also make sure that if there's a catastrophic illness, they're taken care of. These are products that enable somebody to, you know, move from one job to the next and keep their health care with them, which is important in the 21st century. They're ways for employees to take care of their employees.

In Oklahoma, a lot of people don't know about health saving accounts, and one of the reason I've come down to this part of the country is because I do want people to understand they're available and they're good. About 6 million people across the country are using health savings accounts. The biggest increase is with small-business owners.

And so today we've had a good discussion with owners who've got a health savings account, people who are looking at health savings account. I introduced Sandy, head of the SBA here, to folks, and if somebody wants to really learn about an HSA, just go on, which is an SBA site, so people can see whether or not it makes sense for your business or your family.

Anyway, I do want to thank you all very much for, one, being pioneers; two, being risk takers; and three, giving me a chance to hear your thoughts and concerns and— about a very innovative way for small businesses and individuals to be able to better afford health care.

Thank you, all.

Guy was trying to ask a question, but he was in violation of the no question policy. [Laughter] Right, Deb [Deb Reichmann, Associated Press]?

Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin

Q. Did you watch the Palin interview?

The President. As I said, no question policy. [Laughter] She did just fine.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:33 a.m. at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Conference Center. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, OK; Sen. Thomas A. Coburn; and Sandy K. Baruah, Acting Administrator, Small Business Administration. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the tape was incomplete.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following a Discussion on Health Savings Accounts and an Exchange With Reporters in Oklahoma City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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