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. Data Driven

    Someone down thread suggested that "Obamacare is a Trojan Horse for single-payer".

    Good! I hope so! And in any case, activists like me will do EVERYTHING WE CAN to make a nationalized health service a reality in this country.

    You BET it's a Trojan Horse.

    September 26, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. elayne brown

    As usual, Obama and the dems are not listening to the American people. Obama whines like a little girl and he is out to destroy the American people , the country in general with the help of the dems who will not listen to the American people. Shut down the government, they are worthless anyway. They run their mouth about cuts, well, Obamacrap, druggie programs and not off aide to other countries. Don't blame Bush for what Obama has done to ruin this country. How many times will the dems ignore the voice of the people.

    September 26, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Univeristy of Virginia Weighs in on Obamacare... so much for you can keep your doctor and current healthcare coverage

    Both the University of Virginia and UPS told their employees recently they are no longer offering spousal coverage to those able to obtain insurance elsewhere; meaning thousands of Americans will no longer be able to choose the benefits they prefer.

    UVA said Wednesday this is only one of many “major changes” coming to their health plans as a result of ObamaCare. The university says the changes are necessary because the law is projected to add $7.3 million to the cost of the university’s health plan in 2014 alone.

    September 26, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. just asking

    John
    Just went onto the California exchange to see if we can get coverage cheaply low income employees.....one particular example is this ...a single mom making 27,000 with one child can get the silver, 2nd tier plan for $110mo net after subsidy, or the bronze for only $34/mo....this includes both her and her child.......If you haven't looked at the prices/subsidies, you might want to check it out.
    ---

    how much are the usa taxpayers paying for them per month??? what are their deductibles, money they have to pay first before ever getting insurance to pay anything.

    September 26, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. 2012liberal

    Brian and yet. Walgreen is going on 2 the exchanges b/c they only had a choice of 2 plans w their reg ins comp. Now they will have a choice of 5 plans for their employees. Wont b forced 2 have cadillac plans employees and company cant afford. And walgreens will continue 2 pay part of employee premiums as they always hv.

    September 26, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    "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,"

    If his mouth is moving...there are no "honest terms"

    September 26, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Lifetouch, IBM and Home Depot are nothing but greedy capitalists that are using the ACA as an excuse to cut hours or benefits. All 3 companies are huge money makers. I can't believe people hate the POTUS so much that you would actually think these companies are working in your best interest.

    September 26, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. John

    If Obama loves Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) then let him and all of the Sen and Reps ditch the health care they currently have and force them to take the same thing as the American Citizen. Bet they decline.....I wonder why?

    September 26, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Obamacare REALITY and TRUTH.... OOPS, We TOLD you so!!

    As the official start date for Obamacare draws ever closer, there is more evidence that the law simply won't perform as advertised and, in fact, will cause even greater harm to American society than without the "healthcare reform" it was supposedly crafted to deliver.

    Particularly hard hit will be businesses that are going to be required to provide certain levels of health insurance coverage to their employees. The result is going to be a) higher costs to the businesses' customers; and b) a net loss in employment, especially full-time employment.

    A new employer survey has found that a plurality of mid-sized and large businesses – 40 percent of 420 companies surveyed – said they are planning changes to the designs of their insurance plans next year and other changes to reduce employee related costs as a new excise tax imposed by Obamacare approaches with pricier plans.

    Also, according to Towers Watson, the firm conducting the survey, 60 percent of companies look at private health insurance exchanges as one way of controlling their healthcare and administrative costs by dumping their employees into the state-run health insurance pools called for under the law – as predicted a couple of years ago.

    September 26, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Maureen

    It is the 40 something time some politicians tried to stop Obama care. If it is truly bad it will not last. However I know families who lost everything when their child became sick. Let's hope it helps those who need it the most. And stop trying to scare people with Death Juries and other things. The media is owned by only 6 large companies. Everything you hear on TV is the thoughts of those companies and not a fair and balanced view for people to make up their own minds without influence. Don't be scared by what is said or printed on the internet. People are paid to scare you.

    September 26, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. DH

    Eww, your comments are perfect.
    80% of Americans have health insur thru their employer. Every year those companies renew, change, add to what they offer employees. Premiums also change at renewal mainly based on the amount of claims they paid the year before and what they may have to pay in the future. Some employers are using ACA as an EXCUSE to do what they normal do each year. Premiums go up, some go down and benefits change.

    80% of Americans will have to make zero changes.

    The other 20% cannot get coverage due to pre-existing conditions or have reached the maximum their insurance co will pay out or they are the working poor and just cannot afford health insurance. ACA is for them and not a minute too soon. On 10/1 ACA affordable benefits and rates will speak for themselves. Republicans are disgraceful in their treatment of their fellow Americans who can't do what all of them can do.........see a dr.

    September 26, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. The REAL TRUTH...

    @elayne brown – As usual, Obama and the dems are not listening to the American people
    ----------------
    Sure they are sweetie.. that's why ACA was put in place. The dis-information branch of Fox and the GOP have done their best to discredit the plan (which BTW IS a conservative health plan, modeled on MA and the Heritage Foundation's programs) by using edge cases and having folks like Ted Cruz continually state that "most American's" are against ACA. That is simply not true.. wishful thinking perhaps but false. The reality is most folks do not understand ACA, and tend to be wary of something they don't understand. Your crowd is only up to date on guns, girls, football and beer.

    September 26, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Crampon

    A better way to promote it would be to own it, as opposed to giving waivers, exemptions, and delays to Obama's buddies who don't want it.

    September 26, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. DH

    The republican plan for healthcare.........death.

    September 26, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Momsaundra

    I have been on both sides of the coin with having great health Insurance to having horrible insurance to having none. I am of the opinion that The Affordable Healthcare Act has been working for millions of people in one way or another. I have family who have been discriminated against because of sickness and am sad every time I hear of the heathcare I stitutions not paying or denying coverage to them. I will be one of those who people who sign my family up. I am outraged by the rebublican party threatening to shut down our financial pocket book of America right, "America's pocket book" I will remember those who did and will make a point to not vote for them again.

    September 26, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Jeanfranklynn

    perhaps some of you should look at that again silver 200+ dollars a month..for what????with a $3000 deductible and then only covers 50% who can afford that??? maybe the president and congress and the senate and muslins and Christians but what about the American people

    September 26, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Alex

    As of today, my cost of healthcare has tripled from my employer. My normal $15 copay for prescriptions is now totally changed. TODAY, I just picked up an inhaler and it cost me $60 with my insurance plan.

    That's all the facts I have to share today. No opinion on Obamacare, just a lot more money is being taken from me for the exact same coverage I have had for the last 4 years.

    September 26, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Me

    Wake up People!

    Jpmichigan....
    51% don't want Obamacare you claim.....and that's the majority right? Does the same hold true for the 98% of Americans that want background checks for guns???
    _____________________
    Hey wake up, this is getting OLD, WE ALREADY HAVE BACKGROUND CHECKS IN PLACE!!!!!! The same problem with that law will happen with this law, DON"T put half done laws into place or the background check issue will happen EVERYTIME!!!

    September 26, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. kirk

    I'm hoping my employer drops us, the rate we pay is four times what we were would pay without the group plan, it doesn't sound right, but I pay 1250 mornthly for a family plan, then the first 4000, then an additional 4000 out of pocket . An insurance plan without employer group plan was 329 a month

    September 26, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. ConfusedMomma

    I am so flipping lost on this ObamaCrap ... I've searched and searched and searched yet I cant seem to find the answer to my question/situation. I have been awarded by my state, primary physical custody of my son. His bio-father and I share Legal custody. In our divorce decree and child custody it states HE is to provide medical insurance for our Son. I get the privilege of claiming our son as a dependent on my Taxes. Problem is ... guy starts a job, gets fired/or quits and is without a job for a few months and then goes and does it all over again. It's been the same cycle for the last 3 years now. So anyone know ... who's responsible to provide medical insurance in this instance? From what I've read the one who claims the children as a dependent gets hit if no insurance is in place. BUT what about in my case when legally he is to provide yet I claim our son as a dependent?

    September 26, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. rs

    elayne brown – As usual, Obama and the dems are not listening to the American people
    _______________________________________
    He ran on the ACA and got re-elected on the ACA.

    September 26, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. truth hurts but reality bites

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

    That 'noise' is the sound of the Obamacare train wreck. It is cutting through and destroying many Americans healthcare and jobs. Please, stop the lies and deceit about Obamacare being so good for us and the country. Nobody is buying it any more except for your hard core koolaide drinkers. You only destroy what little credibility you have left at this point.

    Mark my words, Obamacare and its destruction of peoples jobs and healthcare is going to take the Democrats down big in 2014. All the front loaded freebies are done, now comes the nasty part of Obamacare, which they purposely backloaded in order to get Obama re-elected.

    September 26, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. rs

    Also, according to Towers Watson, the firm conducting the survey, 60 percent of companies look at private health insurance exchanges as one way of controlling their healthcare and administrative costs by dumping their employees into the state-run health insurance pools called for under the law – as predicted a couple of years ago.
    ______________________
    Which will apparently BE CHEAPER than the plans they currently have now.

    September 26, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Obamacare REALITY and TRUTH.... OOPS, We TOLD you so!! And the BAD NEWS is it will only get worse, and worse, and worse....

    No big changes soon, but they're coming

    While most of the companies don't yet have near-term plans to make the big dump, clearly, they are coming. The companies who are looking to dump, by the way, collectively employ 8.7 million workers.

    More from CNBC:

    The study also found those same companies are increasingly unlikely to offer their employer-sponsored plan for retirees older than age 65 as Obamacare state insurance exchanges go into effect, and as Medicare remains available to those people.

    The number of employers either very or somewhat likely to discontinue such plans for those retirees grows from 25 percent in 2014 to 44 percent in 2015, according to Towers Watson, the global professional services company....

    That, too, has been foretold.

    Still, the vast majority of the companies – 82 percent – believe it is "important" to offer existing workers subsidized health care, as part of their "employee value proposition" for 2014, the study found.

    Also, 98 percent of the employers said they don't have definite plans to discontinue company health insurance plans next year or in 2015 and dump their workers into state exchanges. But how many of those companies will eventually change direction and dump sooner will depend in large part on several factors: how well the exchanges work (no one even knows yet how they will work); overall cost of coverage (will it stay the same, go up or, more likely, increase?); and any political changes to the law.

    "Most companies very much still see health-care benefits as a core offering," Ron Fontanetta, a senior health-care consultant at Towers Watson, told CNBC. "It's a very visible benefit, and it garners a lot of attention among executives, in part because it's very visible to employees and also because it costs a lot."

    Nevertheless, company-sponsored healthcare changes are afoot, and they are a) directly related to Obamacare; and b) anything but positive.

    New tax increases looming

    For instance, the Towers Watson study was released on the same day it was reported that UPS told its white-collar employees the company would no longer cover 15,000 working spouses, beginning next year, because of increased medical costs and "costs associated with the Affordable Care Act."

    It's not that "greedy American corporations" want to discontinue health insurance coverage. CEOs see such coverage as a necessary perk that attracts a higher quality employee. But the reality is that Obamacare is going to boost costs, so firms are being forced to rethink the benefit.

    Companies "are increasingly asking questions about 'where are we taking our future strategy? How does the challenge of offering health care reconcile with our broader financial goals as an organization?'" said Fontanetta. "They want to understand, increasingly, what are the different strategic pathways [the companies] might take," Fontanetta said.

    The looming excise tax, by the way, becomes effective in 2018 – one of the law's many penalties, taxes, fees and punishments.

    September 26, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. ShawnDH

    Yeah! That was awesome. I love this president.

    September 26, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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