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Obama: "Economists Are Often Wrong"

In an exclusive interview Tuesday, CBS News' Katie Couric asked President Obama who's to say he's "reading the tea leaves accurately" when it comes to the administration's projections concerning cost savings and other issues related to the economy.

"I mean, it's a pretty dicey proposition, don't you think, to predict economics into the future," Couric said.

"Well, if what you're saying is is that economists are often wrong, you're absolutely right about that," Mr. Obama responded, laughing. "But that can't be a rationale for inaction. I mean, if we expect 100 percent accuracy on economic predictions, than we wouldn't do anything, because we'd be constantly worried that, well, maybe we haven't thought of this scenario or that scenario."

"But what we know, as a general matter, as a general proposition, is on health care, for example, health care costs are going up constantly," he said. "We can look at what's happened over the last ten years, and they've doubled. Premiums have doubled. We know that they've gone up three times faster than inflation. We know that Medicare and Medicaid – on current paths, without me doing anything – will blow up the federal budget. That's indisputable, nobody disagrees with that."

So if we're going to get a handle on those things, then we're going to have to take some basic steps that change our delivery system, change reimbursements, improve the quality of care that we're getting for the dollars that we're spending," he continued. "And will it turn out exactly as expected? Some of these changes? Probably not. And that's part of the reason why what we want to do is to set up an independent medical advisory board that on an annual basis is advising Congress on the changes that are needed to further drive down costs and improve quality."

More from the interview:

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On Health Care Reform, Blue Dog Democrats and Other Topics

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