Obama: 'This Law Is Working'

December 4, 2013 - 6:39 AM

Obama health care

President Barack Obama speaks about the new health care law, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama began a three-week campaign to plug Obamacare on Tuesday, telling an audience in Washington to look beyond the problems with the website to the law itself, which is working well and is here to stay, he said -- "as long as I'm president."

"You know, the bottom line is, this law is working and will work into the future," Obama said. "People want the financial stability of health insurance. And we're going to keep on working to fix whatever problems come up. In any start-up, any launch of a project this big, that has an impact on one-sixth of our economy, whatever comes up, we're going to just fix it because we know that the ultimate goal, the ultimate aim is to make sure that people have basic security and the foundation for the good health that they need."

President Obama on Tuesday mentioned several people whom the law has helped, and he said Obamacare is here to stay:

"And my main message today is we're not going back...I mean, that seems to be the only alternative that Obamacare's critics have, is, well, let's just go back to the status quo, because they sure haven't presented an alternative. If you ask many of the opponents of this law what exactly they'd do differently, their answer seems to be, well, let's go back to the way things used to be."

House Republicans have introduced alternative plans that would allow people to buy insurance across state lines and would curb malpractice lawsuits.

On Tuesday, a reporter asked House Speaker John Boehner if one of those Republican plans would come up for a vote in 2014. "We'll see," Boehner responded.

President Obama repeated on Tuesday that he will work with anyone who has "good ideas" about how to improve the Affordable Care Act. "But we're not repealing it as long as I'm president. I want everybody to be clear about that. (Cheers, applause.)

"We will make it work for all Americans. If you don't like this law -- so, if, despite all the millions of people who are benefiting from it, you still think this law's a bad idea, then you've got to tell us specifically what you'd do differently to cut costs, cover more people, make insurance more secure. You can't just say that the system was working with 41 million people without health insurance. You can't just say that the system's working when you've got a whole bunch of folks who thought they had decent insurance and then, when they got sick, it turned out it wasn't there for them, or they were left with tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs that were impossible for them to pay."

Obama also responded to critics of the Affordable Care Act:

"Now, we may never satisfy the law's opponents. And I think that's fair to say. Some of them are rooting for this law to fail. That's not my opinion, by the way; they say it pretty explicitly. Some have already convinced themselves that the law has failed, regardless of the evidence. But I would advise them to check with the people who are here today and the people that they represent all across the country whose lives have been changed for the better by the Affordable Care Act."

House Republicans leaders on Tuesday outlined some of their objections to the law, including policy cancellations, people losing their doctors, higher premiums for those who don't qualify for subsidies, the delay of the business mandate, the delay of the small business marketplace, problems transmitting subscriber information to insurance companies, and personal information that is not secure.

President Obama did not mention those problems. He urged his audience to "spread the word" about the law and not to be discouraged by problems with the website, "because it's working better now and it's just going to keep on working better over time. Every day I check to make sure that it's working better."