Obama Touts ACA as Foundation for Middle-Class Financial Security
On Wednesday, President Obama cited the Affordable Care Act as a tool to help middle-class families feel more financially secure during a speech that focused on improving the U.S. economy, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Speaking at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Obama unveiled a broad outline of what he called the cornerstone for middle-class security, which includes access to affordable health care (McCain Nelson, Wall Street Journal, 7/24).
Speech Outlines ACA's Benefits
In his speech, Obama said, "If you ask some of these Republicans about their economic agenda, or how they'd strengthen the middle class, they'll shift the topic to 'out-of-control' government spending" or "they'll bring up Obamacare, despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as they had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no Obamacare" (Weiner, "Post Politics," Washington Post, 7/24).
Obama noted that U.S. residents already are benefiting from the ACA, highlighting provisions of the law that have taken effect, including new benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. He added that his administration is "well on our way to fully implementing the [ACA]" by establishing new health insurance exchanges where uninsured U.S. residents can purchase affordable coverage (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/24).
However, Obama clarified that "85% of Americans who already have health insurance either through the job or Medicare or Medicaid" will not have to do anything different. He added, "[B]ut you do have new benefits and better protections than you did before," such as no-cost preventive care and guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions (White House press release, 7/24).
Obama Addresses Law's Critics
Obama also acknowledged those "who are actively working to make [the ACA] fail," but promised to "keep focusing on health care, because middle-class families and small business owners deserve the security of knowing that neither illness nor accident should threaten the dreams you've worked a lifetime to build." He added, "[D]espite a politically motivated misinformation campaign, the states that have committed themselves to making this law work are finding that competition and choice are actually pushing costs down."
Specifically, Obama criticized House Republicans for "meaningless" votes to repeal all or parts of the law and challenged Republicans to develop a "better plan for making sure every American has the security of quality, affordable health care" and to share those "concrete ideas with the country" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/24). He said, "Now it's time for you to lay out your ideas," adding, "You can't just be against something. You got to be for something" (Wall Street Journal, 7/24).
Obama pledged to "work with Republicans, as well as Democrats, wherever I can," adding that "there are members of both parties who understand what's at stake, and I will welcome ideas from anyone, from across the political spectrum" ("Post Politics," Washington Post, 7/24).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.