Obama: We must reduce health costs, deficit

Obama calls for making 'hard choices' to reduce cost of health care, size of deficit

Associated Press
Obama: We must reduce health costs, deficit
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President Barack Obama kisses his wife Michelle after the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Right is Chief Justice John Roberts. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the nation must make the "hard choices" to reduce the cost of health care and the size of the deficit.

But the president said every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity, and he held up Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as commitments that strengthen America.

Speaking in his inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol Monday, Obama said he rejected the belief that the country must choose between caring for the generation that built the country — or investing in the generation that will build the future.

Struggles with Republicans over reducing the deficit and paring back costly entitlement programs loom for Obama in his second term.

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