September 26th, 2013
08:23 AM ET
11 months ago

WH: Obama to 'cut through all the noise' on Obamacare

Updated 9/26/2013 at 11:10am

Washington (CNN) - Five days before new on-line government-run private insurance marketplaces open for business across the country, White House officials from the top down are revving up efforts to spread the word about the next milestone in the implementation of health care reform.

During a campaign-style event Thursday at a Maryland community college right outside the nation's capital, President Obama attempted to dispel what the White House sees as some of the myths surrounding health care reform.

"Five days from now, on Oct. 1, millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance because they’ve been priced out of the market," Obama said, "they will finally be able to buy quality, affordable health insurance."

Obama attempted to explain exactly what the Affordable Care Act is and is not, "plainly, honestly," he said, listing benefits of the law like insurance rebates, removal of caps on lifetime spending and protection of those with preexisting conditions.

"The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," he said.

The intention of the speech was to "cut through all the noise coming out of Washington and speak directly, in plain and honest terms, about what the Affordable Care Act means for consumers," a White House official said before Obama spoke.

The administration's last minute sales pitch comes as a round of new polls show a majority of American are skeptical of the law also known as Obamacare.

In a CBS News/New York Times survey released Wednesday evening, 39% of Americans said they approve of the health care law while substantially more – 51%- disapprove. The same poll found only one in five say they know "a lot" about measure.

One of the law's chief promoters, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted in an interview on CNN that much of the opposition to Obamacare stems from inaccurate depictions of the law.

"What we've seen for 3 1/2 years is a relentless battle driving misinformation, both from opponents of the law itself and a lot of media and now paid advertising continuing to give the American public information that just isn't correct," Sebelius said Thursday morning on CNN's "New Day."

The latest example of Republican unhappiness with the health care law played out in a more than 21 hour filibuster-like speech delivered by GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas earlier this week. In a pop culture-laden marathon talk-a-thon, that ranged from Dr. Seuss to Star Wars, the tea party-backed Senator tried to convince lawmakers to join his quest to defund Obamacare.

"This is a fight to get the Washington establishment, the empire, to listen to the people. And just like in the 'Star Wars' movies the empire will strike back," Cruz said, referencing the science fiction films during his speech. "But at the end of the day I think the rebel alliance, I think the people will prevail," he continued.

On October 1, one day after the deadline for a potential government shutdown, new health care marketplaces operated by a mix of both federal and state governments go on-line, giving the uninsured an opportunity to buy coverage, many for the first time.

"In these states, on average, consumers will have a choice of 53 health plans (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plans)," Jeanne Lambrew, a Deputy Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, wrote in blog on the White House web site.

"Young adults will have the additional option of low-cost catastrophic or youth plans. And, about one in four of these insurance companies are newly offering plans in the individual market, a sign of healthy competition," Lambrew added.

Sebelius told CNN the new marketplaces are intended to assist the uninsured, not Americans who already receive health care through their employer.

"Your patient protections are already in place," Sebelius said of people who are currently insured. "Nothing changes in this new market. This is really about the folks who've been outside the market and paying a lot more to get in."

–CNN's Bryan Koenig contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. Vince

    Its the law. It will go into effect. Complain and stomp your feet all you want, but get compliant or pay the penalty. Obama was elected by a majority. Twice. Deal with it.

    September 26, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    Tony D

    But what about the millions of people that the CBO estimate will have their healthcare coverage dropped by their employers who find it cheaper to just pay the fine?

    And I have to wonder why the CBO estimate sthat there will STILL be 30 million uninsured people in this country even with Obamacare. Why is that? Are they just going to dodge paying until they get sick, then buy coverage? Isn't that a scam on all of us? Will the IRS be hunting these people down and forcing them to cough up?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Honestly, how many employers who currently offer medical coverage plan to drop coverage? My guess is not very many, as why would they offer something that wasn't required prior to the passage of the ACA when premiums were increasing exponentially every year, only to drop that coverage when the ACA caps rate increases?

    People who choose not to be insured should be forced to sign a waiver stating they understand they will be required to pay cash up front prior to receiving medical care when they get sick or injured. Then just watch that 30 million figure drop like a rock.

    September 26, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    "You should never argue with a crazy man,man,man,man..."- Billy Joel

    September 26, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    No freedom, again, it's you who is misinformed – Congress ALREADY HAS coverage.

    September 26, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Thomas

    @Donna
    OK, trivia time... in 5-6 years that Obama has been campaigning and in office, has he EVER given a speech to an open audience of the American people? Not one that was pre-selected, pre-qualified and consisted of only his college kid supporters or his union supporters? I do believe the anwer is NO. And now that the unions are on the war patch against Obamacare, I guess Obama can only appear in front of college kids that know practically nothing of the real world. The perfect Obama audience.
    =========

    I think you are thinking of his predecessor , " GW Bush ".

    Nice try !

    September 26, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Whoa360

    I am soooo tried of the lies ACA opponents are spewing. I'm from Massachusetts, our 2006 Health Care reform is what the ACA is based upon. It is great! I had to use it when my son graduated college (prior to ACA requiring coverage until 26) and the Blue Cross insurance I get thru my employer retroactively dropped him back to his commencement date.
    Stop the lying. Give it a chance.

    September 26, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Jerry Okamura

    When are we better off depending on someone else to pay for our needs and wants, and when are we worse off depending on someone else to pay for our needs and wants?

    September 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. Thomas

    @txGrl
    I've worked in health care for 30 years, have read ACA, read updates almost daily.
    Obamacare is a Trojan Horse for single payer Nd the biggest, sneakiest, most cynical end run around the electorate in US history.
    The middle class is about to unwittingly give up the biggest tax deduction on IRS books, employer health premiums at $250 billion per year. Democrats calculated that the subsidy carrot they are using to lure you into the individual market will be more than paid for by this massive tax hike.
    Then the subsidy will be phased out, and we will be left paying a LOT more for a LOT less Medicaid Lite insurance, long wait times, the Dumbing Down of the entire medical profession to save money.
    All so Democrats can achieve their impenetrable underclass voting bloc on the backs of the middle class.
    "Recently, Obama was re elected by a truly illiterate society, and he is ready to continue his lies of lowering taxes as he raises them."
    -Vladmir Putin
    Sadly, Putin is exactly right.
    ==========

    You sound like a disgruntled overpaid insurance provider not a health care professional .

    September 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Malory Archer

    Donna, what is a "war patch"?

    September 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. just saying

    to sniffit and others concerning the congressional workers healthcare coverage. the issue is not that they are exempt from obamacare, it is that they have been given special treatment by the government that other non-governmental employees are not getting. it is yet another example of special treatment for select groups under obamacare. it is not about following the laws anymore. it is about who you know and giving people special treatment. this is not equal treatment under the law.

    September 26, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. freedom

    @just asking

    will illegal aliens be able to apply for obamacare and get free government paid for healthcare??? is being an american citizen a pre-requisite to getting free government healthcare? or are the american taxpayers now on the hook for the millions of illegals in this country and the many more that will now come here for free healthcare?

    yes. no. yes.

    It's the "fundamental transformation" Obama promised. To have America implode.

    September 26, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    txGrl

    I've worked in health care for 30 years, have read ACA, read updates almost daily.
    Obamacare is a Trojan Horse for single payer Nd the biggest, sneakiest, most cynical end run around the electorate in US history.
    The middle class is about to unwittingly give up the biggest tax deduction on IRS books, employer health premiums at $250 billion per year. Democrats calculated that the subsidy carrot they are using to lure you into the individual market will be more than paid for by this massive tax hike.
    --------------------–
    Before you so boldy criticize the ACA, find out what the Republicans are offering first. Try reading the "Republican Health Care Plan" blog, which is posted on Spkr Boehner's official web site, dated Jul 27, 2009. The Republicans propose so many tax credits and deductions that their plan amounts to government paying for most everyone's health care. But, there is one big difference between the "RHCP" and the ACA.

    The "RHCP" inserts the entire private health care insurance industry into the revenue stream, where they can siphon off money to their heart's content. The ACA limits insurers profits to 20%, instead of the 40% and higher percentages that we have seen in the past at some companies.

    September 26, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. freedom

    @Malory

    The insurance Congress has is the best coverage anyone can have. Obamacare is many levels below the coverage they already have – which all Americans will now have to deal with – but the ones who forced it onto us will not be under it. Do you get it, yet???

    September 26, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Donna

    Malory Archer
    Donna
    OK, trivia time... in 5-6 years that Obama has been campaigning and in office, has he EVER given a speech to an open audience of the American people?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    He's given many.
    -–

    Well then you should have no problem at all in providing a few dates and places to back up your factless response. Remember, NON-union, non-student audiences, non-preselected but open to all Americans. We all await your response.

    September 26, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. freedom

    @Vince

    That doesn't mean we're going to roll over and die. Your Obama is not infallible, as he has so many of you believing.

    September 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Thomas

    @Paul in Atlanta
    With CNN covering for him, Obama has turned insurance salesman – stumping for his hideous healthcare law that no one in Congress, the unions or the White House wants any part of for their own personal healthcare. Government has no business in healthcare – Obamacare is nothing more than a power grab and an unsustainable entitlement. Let's be adults and agree to the obvious – Obamacare sucks and needs to be replaced with a common sense, far more efficient and affordable solution than the UnAffordable Care Act.

    ========

    Yes , I agree , you need to grow up , act like an adult and not a lobbyist for doing nothing !

    September 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Donna

    Malory Archer
    Donna, what is a "war patch"?
    --

    war path but typed with my thumbs!

    September 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. JJ236

    I just heard the O in a radio bit say "tomorrow uninsured peoples premiums will be less than before" How exactly can that be?

    September 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. ezduzit757

    "Five days before new on-line government-run private insurance marketplaces open for business across the country, White House officials from the top down are revving up efforts to spread the word about the next milestone in the implementation of health care reform." What??? They are spreading the word 5 days before??? Where have they been??? That's what I find the most frustrating thing of all. We haven't heard barely a peep other than the misinformation being spread by the GOP.

    September 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. liberal disease

    he goes to a community college to hype this ? if its so wonderful then why does he need to sell it at all. He should have sold this to congress the same way but he gave them exceptions because they know its a mess!

    September 26, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Thomas

    @Paul in Atlanta

    Let's be adults and agree to the obvious – Obamacare sucks and needs to be replaced with a common sense, far more efficient and affordable solution than the UnAffordable Care Act.
    ===============
    Yes , I agree , you need to grow up , act like an adult and not a lobbyist for doing nothing !

    September 26, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. just saying

    Rudy NYC
    Before you so boldy criticize the ACA, find out what the Republicans are offering first.
    -–

    why the deflection from all the massive obamacre problems? we are discussing obamacare and the problems. why can't you stay on topic?

    September 26, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. freedom

    @JJ236

    Exactly. All premiums are going up – does he think we don't know how to read and pay our bills??? Are people so blinded by him that they believe this crap??

    September 26, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Mike K

    @D Mulch

    Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them.

    All thru my 20s and 30s I was healthy as a horse. Excecised regularily; hiked, biked, etc. and never got sick. In 15 years I took a total of maybe 2-3 days of sick leave. I did go to the doctor for checkups and flu shots but never anything major.

    When I turned 40 I started to notice that I would get tired easily and my legs became weak and numb and I started to fall down unexpectedly. Went to the doctor and they initially thought I had MS as those are typical symptoms. However, an MRI revealed that my spinal cord was being pinched by a rare, genetic bone growth (non-cancerous thank god). Left untreated, I would eventually become paralyzed. The good news was that it could be fixed with surgery.

    I spent 12 hours in the operating room and a week in the hospital plus months of physical therapy. CT scans and additional MRIs were performed and countless doctor visits. Two years later I can say that I have finally recovered but nerve regeneration is extremely slow and I will probably never fully regain my previous range of motion.

    Fortunately, I have always had good health insurance through work but even so, my out of pocket expenses with deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance payments still totaled close to $10K dollars. All together, the total cost for my surgery was more than $300,000 – and I would’ve been on the hook for all of that had I been uninsured. I guarantee you that I would have chosen bankruptcy passing my debt on to taxpayers instead as there is no way I could pay off that amount anytime soon.

    You can go ahead and believe that you’re young and invincible and that you will never need medical care but you are simply deluding yourself. I agree that ACA is not perfect but it is a good start in making sure everyone has at least a minimal health insurance plan when the inevitable happens. I am not willing to pay for your selfishness with higher premiums when you end up in the ER without insurance.

    September 26, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    just saying

    to sniffit and others concerning the congressional workers healthcare coverage. the issue is not that they are exempt from obamacare, it is that they have been given special treatment by the government that other non-governmental employees are not getting.
    -----------------–
    They have been "given special treatment by the government" because the they had been given special treatment by the law.

    September 26, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11