Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Obama declares health care law is working

WASHINGTON — Seeking to regroup from his health care law’s disastrous rollout, President Barack Obama on Tuesday insisted that the sweeping overhaul is working and warned Republican critics that he would fight any efforts to strip away its protections.

“We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,” Obama said during a health care event at the White House. “If I have to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that’s what I’ll do.”

Earlier Tuesday, the administration released a 50-state report saying that nearly 1.5 million people were found eligible for Medicaid during October. As website problems depressed sign-ups for subsidized private coverage, that safety-net program for low-income people saw a nearly 16 percent increase in states that have agreed to expand it, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The White House is trying to cast the health care law in a positive light after the first two months of enrollment for the centerpiece insurance exchanges were marred with technical problems. With the majority of problems with the sign-up website resolved, by the accounting of administration officials, Obama and his team plan to spend much of December trying to remind Americans why the administration fought for the law in the first place.

“We believe that in America, nobody should have to worry about going broke because somebody in their family or they got sick,” Obama said, flanked by people the White House says have benefited from the law.

Despite Obama’s sunny presentation, officials are furiously working behind the scenes to rectify an unresolved issue with enrollment data that could become a significant headache after the first of the year. Insurers say much of the enrollment data they’re receiving is practically useless, meaning some consumers might not be able to get access to benefits on Jan. 1, the date their coverage is scheduled to take effect.

The troubled rollout of the insurance exchanges has contributed to a drop in Obama’s overall job approval rating, while also emboldening Republicans and putting Democratic lawmakers facing re-election on edge.

White House officials say that with the worst of the website problems behind them, the president will return to a familiar political argument: criticizing Republicans for opposing the “Obamacare” law without providing their own ideas for solving national health care woes.

“They sure haven’t presented an alternative,” Obama said. “You’ve got to tell us specifically what you’d do.”

Despite the website troubles, the White House says it is buoyed by high online traffic. On Monday, officials said, the site received about 1 million visitors, though they would not detail how many of those had actually enrolled for insurance policies.

Medicaid sign-ups are proceeding on a separate track. While subsidized private coverage is available to middle class people in all 50 states, the expanded version of Medicaid currently is provided only in states that agreed to accept it. So far 25 states and Washington, D.C., have done so.

Tuesday’s report showed that states that expanded their Medicaid programs saw a nearly 16 percent increase in applications during October. States that did not expand saw a smaller, 4-percent increase.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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Discussion | 11 comments

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  • Russell V KinzDecember 04, 2013 - 10:13 am

    "...As long as I'm President...". Great, get rid of the lier now!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895December 04, 2013 - 10:51 am

    Good luck with that. Liar or not, he's fighting the good fight.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithDecember 04, 2013 - 1:53 pm

    RLW: Given the sleazy manner in which Obamacare was foisted upon the American people, and the fact that it took months of outright lying to those same people in order to get past an election without mass rebellion, I don't see how you can assign the moral high ground to Obama on this.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895December 04, 2013 - 2:14 pm

    It sort of depends on what you see as he's up against.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithDecember 04, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    Did it ever occur to you that there are many valid reasons for the opposition that has caused the struggles of Obama and his administration? Why does that make him a hero or someone who should be given slack as POTUS? Let's cut to the chase: You are ok with the largest income redistribution scheme/tax increase/killer of the economy and further erosion of the middle class in American history (the ACA), because the ends justify the means in your opinion.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895December 04, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    It HAS occurred to me. It always does with any president. I just don't see the ACA as the great evil as you do. Has that occurred to you? I am certainly not alone. In fact it is you who are on the fringe. But let's keep talking. Maybe one or both of us will find enlightenment;-).

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 04, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    Mr. Smith back to "income redistribution" again? "killer of the economy and further erosion of the middle class?" Really, how can you justify your assertions given the nature of the GOP/Obama relationship? One that began with a challenge to ruin him personally and professionally? How can you condone the obstruction from the right and somehow blame the president? I just don't get it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithDecember 04, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    RLW: You may not be alone, but to characterize me and my views on this as being on the fringe--puh-leeze! This deeply flawed legislation will soon collapse under its own weight, and it should. The bright side is that a much better solution to the healthcare crisis in America lies ahead. A bi-partisan solution, this time. No matter how many times Obama says there are no Republican ideas, this lie, too, will be put to rest and finally some progress will be made because he will have no choice but to work with his opposition.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895December 04, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    Mr.S: Pul-eeze! It's the REPUBLICANS who have no choice but to work with the opposition, because they have finally concluded that the president will not be rolled on this one. I actually think Harry Reed has taken the controls, and the president has wisely chosen to do his part. Democrats will welcome constructive amendments, but it's too late to repeal the ACA. Continued insistence on that by the Republicans will be met with the resistance--and scorn--it deserves.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895December 04, 2013 - 6:13 pm

    *Reid

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensDecember 04, 2013 - 6:45 pm

    Dumb California Obama believers----The Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid today exempted his employees from what he wants to impose on you---Oamacare.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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