Obama Defends ACA, Vows Exchange Website Will Be ‘Fixed ASAP’
Meanwhile, Obama also decried the problems with the federal health insurance exchange website and vowed to get them "fixed ASAP" (Rucker/Branigin, Washington Post, 10/30).
During the speech, Obama said Republicans were not giving the full picture regarding recent reports that thousands of consumers have received cancellation letters from their insurers (Sink, The Hill, 10/30). He noted that anyone "peddling the notion" that insurers can drop people is being disingenuous because those companies will offer new plans in their place (Resnick, National Journal, 10/30).
Obama also said that the ACA was designed to help the uninsured as well as the "underinsured," noting that it prevented "bad-apple insurers" from offering "substandard plans." He stressed that the law allows U.S. residents to keep those policies created before the law was signed, as long as insurers do not change or cancel them (Washington Post, 10/30).
However, Obama scaled back his previous promise that people could keep their current coverage if they like it, saying, instead that "the vast majority of people" who like their coverage can keep it (Nelson/Nicholas, Wall Street Journal, 10/30). He also acknowledged that some of the "fewer than 5% of Americans" who purchase coverage on the individual market would need to obtain new plans and that there is a "fraction of Americans with higher incomes who will pay more on the front end for better insurance with better benefits" (Washington Post, 10/30).
For those who have received a cancellation letter, Obama urged them to "shop around in the new marketplace. You're going to get a better deal" (Rampton/Morgan, Reuters, 10/30). He added that "nobody is losing their right to health care coverage" (The Hill, 10/30).
Obama Accepts Responsibility for Troubled Website
In his speech, Obama also addressed the technical glitches that have plagued HealthCare.gov, the Washington Post's "Post Politics" reports.
He said, "Right now, the website is too slow, too many people have gotten stuck, and I am not happy about it." He added, "So there's no excuse for it, and I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP" (Blake, "Post Politics," Washington Post, 10/30).
However, Obama attempted to divorce the site's problems with the overall law. He said, "The deal is good. The prices are low," and it is "the right thing to do."
He told the audience, "We are in this together, and we are going to see it through" (Washington Post, 10/30).
Obama Notes Parallels With Massachusetts Reform Law
Obama also hailed Massachusetts' 2006 health reform law, which was signed by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R), AP/U-T San Diego reports.
Obama noted that the state's health reform law faced initial challenges and tepid enrollment but eventually gained in popularity and is now considered a success. He said, "All the parade of horribles, the worst predictions about health care reform in Massachusetts never came true," adding, "They're the same arguments that you're hearing now" (LeBlanc, AP/U-T San Diego, 10/30).
Obama said, "We built the Affordable Care Act on this template of proven bipartisan success. Your law was the model for the nation's law" (Washington Post, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.