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Weekly Address: President Obama – Working to Implement the Affordable Care Act

From the White House – Weekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama said we are on the way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and helping millions of Americans.  Unfortunately, a group of Republicans in Congress are working to confuse people and are even suggesting they will shut down the government if they cannot shut down the health care law.  Health insurance isn’t something to play politics with, and the President will keep working to make sure the law works as it’s supposed to, and he encourages everyone to visit to find out more about the law and how to sign up.

Transcript: Working to Implement the Affordable Care Act

Hi, everybody.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting with Americans across the country to talk about what we need to do to secure a better bargain for the middle class.

We need to rebuild an economy that rewards hard work and responsibility; an economy built firmly on the cornerstones of middle-class life.  Good jobs.  A good education.  A home of your own.  A secure retirement.  And quality, affordable health care that’s there when you need it.

Right now, we’re well on our way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act.  And in the next few months, we’ll reach a couple milestones with real meaning for millions of Americans.

If you’re one of the 85% of Americans who already have insurance, you’ve already got new benefits and protections under this law that you didn’t before.  Free checkups, mammograms, and contraceptive care.  Discounted prescription medicine on Medicare.  The fact you can stay on your parents’ plan until you turn 26.  And much, much more.  And it’s okay if you’re not a fan of the Affordable Care Act – you can take advantage of these things anyway.

If you don’t have insurance, beginning on October 1st, private plans will actually compete for your business.  You can comparison shop in an online marketplace, just like you would for cell phone plans or plane tickets.  You may be eligible for new tax credits to help you afford the plan that’s right for you.  And if you’re in the up to half of all Americans who’ve been sick or have a preexisting condition, this law means that beginning January 1st, insurance companies have to cover you – and they can’t use your medical history to charge you more than anybody else.

You can find out more about the law, and how to sign up to buy your own coverage right now at  Tell your friends and neighbors without insurance about it, too.  And tell your kids that there’s a new, easy way to buy affordable plans specifically tailored to young people.

Many Members of Congress, in both parties, are working hard to inform their constituents about these benefits, protections, and affordable plans.  But there’s also a group of Republicans in Congress working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they’ll either shut down the health care law, or, if they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down the government.

Think about that.  They’re actually having a debate between hurting Americans who will no longer be denied affordable care just because they’ve been sick – and harming the economy and millions of Americans in the process.  And many Republicans are more concerned with how badly this debate will hurt them politically than they are with how badly it’ll hurt the country.

A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me.  But they’d just be sticking it to you.

Some even say that if you call their office with questions about the law, they’ll refuse to help.  Call me old-fashioned – but that’s lousy constituent service.  And it’s not what you deserve.

Your health insurance isn’t something to play politics with.  Our economy isn’t something to play politics with.  This isn’t a game.  This is about the economic security of millions of families.

See, in the states where governors and legislatures and insurers are working together to implement this law properly – states like California, New York, Colorado and Maryland – competition and consumer choice are actually making insurance affordable.

So I’m going to keep doing everything in my power to make sure this law works as it’s supposed to.  Because in the United States of America, health insurance isn’t a privilege – it is your right.  And we’re going to keep it that way.

Thanks.  And have a great weekend.

Bolding added.


Editor’s Note: The President’s Weekly Address diary is also the weekend open news thread. Feel free to leave links to other news items in the comment threads.


  1. No Republicans, zero zilch nada, voted for the Affordable Care Act. No Republicans, zero zilch nada, are trying to work with the administration to fine-tune the law to make it work better for people.

    Their own pollsters are finding that Obamacare is popular but they are still going to run against it and vote against it and shut down the government to kill it. Why? Because just like Social Security and Medicare, it will be another law passed by a Democratic congress and signed by a Democratic president that will be wildly popular.

    THIS will be the single most important issue in the 2014 campaign: which party is on the side of ordinary Americans who struggle to pay bills and worry about a sick child or spouse resulting in bankruptcy … and which party says “screw you, your problems are of no concern to me”.

  2. Much has been made of the immigration bashing that is rife in the Republican party as what will drive away Latino voters. The House GOP’s failure to take up the carefully watered down crafted immigration bill is not going unnoticed by those voters.

    But Latino voters are not undocumented workers (except in the fevered dreams of right-wing politicians in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas and elsewhere hollering about “voter fraud”), they are citizens. And despite the much ballyhooed Republican Minority Outreach program rolled out after the 2012 presidential/senatorial election shellacking, the Republicans have still not gotten that being against affordable health insurance is being against working class Americans … many of whom are the minorities that they are saying they want to reach out to. In an excellent Think Progress article pointing out 10 ways the new strategy is blown, #9:

    9. Ignored uninsured voters: Latinos have among the lowest rates of health coverage in the U.S., and also back Obamacare 2 to 1. The GOP has ignored this issue, and haven’t offered any alternatives for the uninsured, even as many of them threaten to shut down the government to block Obamacare.

    I think another way to put this is “It’s the economy, stupid”. People will vote their pocketbooks and the Republican jihad against affordable health care is a direct assault on those who are just scraping by.

  3. From the White House: Five Ways the Affordable Care Act Helps America’s Small Businesses

    As a small business owner, I am looking forward to this:

    1.SHOP Marketplaces: Currently, small businesses face premiums that are on average 18% higher than large businesses. On October 1, 2013, the new Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP) Marketplaces will be open for businesses, and small employers in every state will be able to shop for health coverage on a competitive marketplace, that brings unprecedented transparency to the market and gives small businesses the same purchasing clout as big businesses.

    I always thought that if small businesses could band together they would be able to get better rates. But someone has to do the banding and small business groups could never pull it off. Now the government will help set up these small business exchanges that we can all use.

    Webinars to find out more

  4. pittiepat

    in Florida held by a Republican rep.  Of course, he spoke about how awful Obamacare would be and why it was important to see it wasn’t implemented.  He went on to talk about how costs were going to explode, yada yada.  The audience started making noise and one of the officials asked the audience to be quiet and let the representative finish his statement.  Another person in the audience responded “Well, then tell him to stop lying.”  So, it seems that at least some folks are seeing the truth about ACA.  

  5. Young, Healthy and Rich Need Obamacare, Too

    Health insurance isn’t like other forms of insurance. It’s not protection against the unlikely; it’s insulation against the inevitable. Most people never use their fire insurance. Almost everyone uses their health insurance. Eventually. […]

    [The Affordable Care Act is] not for everybody. About 150 million Americans get insurance through their employers. Obamacare’s insurance reforms have basically nothing to do with them. Almost 100 million more get their insurance from Medicare or Medicaid or some highly subsidized government-insurance program. Obamacare doesn’t much matter for them, either. Discussions about premiums under Obamacare are about the 8 percent of Americans expected to get nongroup health insurance through Obamacare’s new marketplaces.

    Those who are saying that they are subsidizing the sick and poor are actually right. But guess what?

    … even the small group of people who are young, healthy or too rich to qualify for subsidies and don’t have employer-provided insurance have a compelling reason to purchase insurance: They will not be young and healthy — or even necessarily rich — forever. Young people grow old. Healthy people get sick. Rich people become poor. The people overpaying to keep costs low today are the people underpaying 10 or 20 years from now. It’s a terrible mistake to believe your health-care needs won’t change over time.

    Yikes! Socialism!!! Or maybe just being a responsible member of society.

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