April 17th, 2014
03:46 PM ET
5 months ago

Obama: Republicans 'were wrong' about Obamacare

(CNN) – President Barack Obama called on his fellow Democrats to "forcefully defend and be proud" of the fact that millions of people have signed up for health care insurance through the federal marketplaces, and faulted Republicans who are still angling to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"I don't think we should apologize for it. I don't think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell," Obama said Thursday during a rare appearance at the daily White House news conference.

Obama announced that the number of people who have signed up for private insurance through the marketplaces has grown to 8 million. About 35% of those people are under the age of 35, he added. That number is slightly less than the 40% that the White House and independent experts originally forecast for the system to work successfully, but it's higher than numbers released earlier this year.

Obama said the law is "now covering more people at less cost than most would have predicted just a few months ago" and criticized its opponents.

"I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck in the same place that it has always been. They still can't bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working," the President said.

"They said nobody would sign up; they were wrong about that," he continued. "They said it would be unaffordable for the country; they were wrong about that.

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The President said the political bickering will still likely continue through at least the November midterm elections, "because it seems as if this is the primary agenda item in the Republican political platform."

His comments marked a strong contrast to the tone he took last November as his administration was trying to smooth over the rocky rollout of the federal website, as well as a broken promise that anyone who liked their insurance would be able to keep it under the new law.

Vulnerable Democrats have since tried to place distance between themselves and the health care law, an outcome Obama somewhat anticipated last fall.

"There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they're running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin," the President said at a press briefing.

The President added that he felt "deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier for them."

But after the administration ended up exceeding its original goal of 7 million sign-ups by the end of March, the President and the White House have not been shy in celebrating a victory.

"This thing is working," Obama said Thursday.

"If Republicans want to spend all their time talking about repealing a law that's working, that's their business," he added.

He also chided states that have refused to accept Medicaid expansion, a provision in the health care law that would give states federal dollars to increase the amount of people who could qualify for the program. Nearly half the states-all with Republican governors-have declined to accept the program, while a few states are still considering it.

Obama argued governors and state legislatures have chosen not to expand Medicaid "for no other reason than political spite."

CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report.


Filed under: Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Silence DoGood

    GOP:
    No one will sign up.
    ...well no more than 1 million will sign up
    ...well no more than 2 million will sign up
    ...well no more than 3 million will sign up
    ...well no more than 4 million will sign up
    ...well no more than 5 million will sign up
    ...well no more than 6 million will sign up
    ...well no more than 7 million will sign up
    ...... hey how about that Benghazi??!!

    April 17, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    All these folks getting healthcare, taking responsibility and doing the right thing. You'd think repub/tea bags would be HAPPY ....

    April 17, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Visara

    All this says is there at least eight million fools in the country.

    April 17, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Come on truthers, entertain me!!!! Tell me about "skewing" and "cooking the books" and then say something about socialism!!!! Make it creative now....really put the tinfoil hats on overdrive....don't give me this bland, predictable, reality-denial crap like the letter Rep. McCarthy (how fitting) sent to Obama today that was nothing but a silly attempt to pretend that questions about the numbers that have already been answered haven't really been answered. No no...I wanna here some juicy new delusions. Ready? GO!

    April 17, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. RJ

    Only 309 Million more to go...

    April 17, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Sergeant

    Breaking Fox News: The White House lied, they said they would sign up 7 million, not 8. BENGHAZI!!!

    April 17, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Chico Andaman

    This is great news. Much better than the news that Obamacare caused 30 million Americans to have their premiums raised or policies cut from them.

    April 17, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. John Illinois

    Once again.......how many are subsidized? and how much is subsidized? How many were forced because their plans were cancelled? How many actually PAID their premiums? More blah, blah, blah and lies out of this guy!

    April 17, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Ron

    noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, he can't win

    April 17, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Richard

    Another lie from oh holy one.

    April 17, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. JP

    Sign ups hit 19 quadrillion ..as if this administration has ever told the truth

    I wouldn't doubt that Bin Laden is still alive ...I did not see the body

    April 17, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. roger

    The minute that article stated "President Obama said" took all credibility away from it.

    April 17, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Don't believe

    Do not believe one word from obama or Sebelius about sign up numbers. Numbers have been manipulated like Salvador Dali 's clocks,

    April 17, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. BlairDMcKee

    No totals on how many have lost their insurance under the new rules? No totals on how many have actually paid? Just a feel-good number out of nowhere.

    April 17, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. ATL Guy

    Cue the Republican idiocy. All you have to do is say Obama and that drives Republicans nuts.

    April 17, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. TheTruth

    When you make insurance mandatory, of course it is going to reach in the millions, even more so when the government decides it is going to help foot the bill for your monthly premium on the young and healthy's dime. The truth of this form of Healthcare will come to surface after its been used for a couple of years, as someone heavily involved in the healthcare industry I would advise to keep an eye out for doctor's who are looking for other means of compensation from their patients such as charging them a fee for processing a Prior Authorization with their insurance and/or fee for calling in refills for prescriptions....welcome to the new unimproved healthcare system America!

    April 17, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. mike

    It's really easy when you are forced to go there or else you will lose money! Make perfect sense...

    April 17, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. FRANK LEE

    Just more of the non-stop cooking-of-the-books from the Obama White House.
    Does anyone actually believe this BS?

    April 17, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. James

    if the Republicans were smart they would stop the idiotic mantra of repealing Obamacare, too many people are now invested in it. If they were smart they would talk about improving it now. There are good parts to it which are hugely popular such as the banning of discrimination due to preexisting conditions. So they need to stop this clap trap about repeal. It will destroy them because more and more people will continue to sign up and at a certain point it will be accepted just like Medicare and Social Security have become.

    April 17, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Dead Bear

    Let the GOP crying foul in 3... 2... 1

    April 17, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Daniel

    8 Million? And you're happy? Wasnt this suppose to get the 15% without insurance on an insurance plan? Like 50 million people? * million is laughable and can't even be remotely regarded as making Obamacare a success.

    April 17, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Thomas

    No Way !

    It's imposable , it will never work , Lies Lies Lies , " Benghazi " , Fast and Furious , the Movie .

    Pray for Michele Bachmann's return !

    April 17, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. FRANK LEE

    All of these false numbers and claims of success are just to try to lighten up the attacks on the dems running for reelection

    April 17, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. kenmargo

    OK Bigots, haters and repubs. lets hear your whining now. There's no death panels, The govt isn't taking over your heathcare. These people signed up on their own because they saw a good deal and a chance to get something NO ONE ELSE tried to help them with. HEATHCARE.

    April 17, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. dr3yec

    And the lies never seem to stop, please people we know better. Lair and Chief doing what he does best LIE.

    April 17, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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