April 17th, 2014
03:46 PM ET
6 years 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

    I cannot believe the number of commentators here that actually believe 300 million people must sign up.
    The terrorists and Tea Party may have already won based on shear stupidity.

    April 17, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. JLM

    I personally think it is a great step in the right direction. I am thrilled my 23 year old son in college can be on my plan and that no pre-existing condition will boot him off. The cost is very comparable to what my husband's company offers, in fact a little cheaper except his company subsidizes. If it is good enough for all our Congressional leaders why wouldn't it be good enough for all American's. The GOP only want welfare for the wealthy!

    April 17, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Tom

    @Tampa Tim You forgot the magic word. BENGHAZIIII!!!!

    April 17, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Government Waste Rules

    SO HOW MANY HAVE PAID? Why is that so hard for this administration to track?

    April 17, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. mcfarlas47

    He spent some time congratulating those that signed up, said it's working, then spent the rest of the time bashing the Republicans.
    That doesn't strike me as being very presidential. Why couldn't he have just left that part out? Maybe his talk was about politics and not about the new health care plan.

    April 17, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Winston5

    But how many of the 8 million are actually lizard people, if I could bring up a practical point at this time?

    April 17, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Faux news manipulates information to incite anger"

    And stupidity...don't forget the stupid...they're sowing stupid faster than Wilt Chamberlain sowed his seeds.

    April 17, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. suemac47

    He spent some time congratulating those that signed up, said it's working, then spent the rest of the time bashing the Republicans.
    That doesn't strike me as being very presidential. Why couldn't he have just left that part out? Maybe his talk was about politics and not about the new health care plan

    April 17, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Kendall

    8 Million.........including the 6 million that lost coverage due to restrictions...only 40 million more to go...this is deemed as a success? Imagine doing a victory lap for a program that threatens legal action if you don't comply....pitiful.

    April 17, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. coldhardtruth

    At least half of the 8 million are folks who's insurance was cancelled by Obamacare in the first place. So actual number is 3-4 million. Out of that 3-4 million, how many of those just "signed on" online and not payed for the policy? Insurance companies will factor this in, when they give the government the bill for how much money they are losing.

    Yes, Obama promised to pay for any losses the insurance companies incur. It is also laughable that age 35 is considered "young invincible" by Obama. As for being under budget, that is the biggest joke of all, the extension of the employer mandate and the omission of the subsidies to the insurance companies skewed the numbers.

    The real bill has not been added up yet. That will happen next year, after the mid-term elections (what a surprise) when they cannot hide the truth anymore.

    April 17, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. erocks49ers

    Until we see the details of the numbers we won't know if its a success or failure. Its easy to say look 8 million, but for the system to work, at least 2.5 million have to be young healthy people. If you don't have that ratio, next year premiums will rise. Less people may sign up and some may opt for the penalty unless the government raises the subsidies. Where will that money come from?

    But this is all speculation until we get hard facts

    April 17, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Colten Crowder

    Bahahahaha! A success!? Its incredible what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people for not using Obama's insurance. In case you haven't checked the population of the US recently, 8 million would hardly be considered a success. I swear you people have the IQ of a houseplant.

    April 17, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. davecu

    All this ignorance from all sides of this not yet done issue.
    Politics from all sides. Lies from all sides
    This didn't used to be the American way.

    Lord help us, these mutts vote. Often.

    April 17, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. deetoo

    Why is the Right so worried about having these folks insured? The majority of Americans already have health insurance, so it doesn't set any new requirements on them. For those who are young, or with pre-existing conditions, or low income – why would anyone wish them not to be insured????????

    Inflation in health costs and insurance rates has been slowed considerably. 8 years ago rates were rising in double digit amounts. Now – only by 3-7%. I have seen this in my own insurance, those of friends & family, news in the papers. In Charleston SC, a big-time ACA-hater – two major hospitals are collaborating and cutting costs for all – encouraged by this legislation. The ACA is working. For everyone almost.

    Yes – a few with weak plans had to upgrade. They probably would have been cancelled at the first sight of cancer or a major operation. The bad thing avoided (cancelled coverage) is often not recognized as the result of the ACA – tough to prove. But look at the cost curve of healthcare – DROPPING LIKE A ROCK.

    So, the Right can try to fuss about who has paid and who hasn't. They didn't when it can to house payments during the recession... so why now? Bills in the USA have certain late payment ratios for anything – power bills, car payments, credit card bills, so plan on the insurance companies having to collect this too.... NOT NEW. NOT NEWS.

    The Right needs to get off the increasingly DUMB talking points, and cheer the improvement of the quality of living for over 10 million Americans. 10 million VOTERS!!!!!! Maybe they will pivot and focus on things that improve life for voters.... Didn't they get hired to do that????

    April 17, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Breaking: GOP/Teatrolls spotted running down Pennsylvania avenue carrying goal posts. Story at 11.

    April 17, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. nc1965

    More good news.

    April 17, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. TAC

    And for the president and Democrats to be proud of what they accomplished. Forcing something on the people they did not wantt in the first place. We are no longer a free country. Our president, senate and House of Rep. is nothing more than a dictator( most of them). We need to clean house, starting with the White House and elect officals that work for the people.

    April 17, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. nc1965

    Obamacare, March, 2014, surpasses 7 million –

    Republicans' response – Americans don't want it.

    Obamacare, April, 2014,surpasses 8 million –

    Republicans' response – Americans don't want it. We will repeal it.

    Obamacare, October, 2014,surpasses 12 million –

    Republicans' response – Americans don't want it. We will repeal it.

    Obamacare, 2016,surpasses 20 million –

    Republicans' response – Americans don't want it. We will run on repealing it.

    January 2016 – Republicans lose the Presidency and the House, Democrats retain the Senate.

    April 17, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. acspore

    Every time there is good news on Obamacare, here come the wingnuts out of the woodwork in droves, compelled by their talking head gods and Fix"news" to post their rubbish and nonsense that nobody of any intelligence and decency believes. The dictum is so true of the Right: You can fool some of the people some of the time (read "conservatives"), but you can't fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. The TRUTH will out.

    April 17, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. CharlieH

    Geez, will this guy please stop all the lying and falsifying of numbers? It's ridiculous. Do those hard core BO supporters really believe this stuff? What a joke.

    April 17, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Michael

    @kenmargo, first of all, this was not the only thing I posted, so this was not my only point - secondly, yes we have had those things, my point is that there are alternatives to insurance - if somebody goes to one of those free clinics they have no need to file a claim with a health insurance company, because it is free. I am not advocating for people to go without insurance, but I am saying that there are alternatives that can be explored and expanded.

    April 17, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Klan_man

    We love you big O! Every time I think I'm having a bad day you bring good news.

    HEALTH CARE REFORM IS WORKING....AHORA, AHORA, AHORA!!

    April 17, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Bill, Bloominton IL

    This plan is working. Lets wait until 2015 when people are turned away at the hospital (10/29/13) CNN article because the policy is junk. 2015 and another lie.

    April 17, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. sambell1

    8 million exchange signups
    3 million covered under parents plan
    3 million new Medicaid signups
    5 million off exchange signups
    19 million covered under ACA
    Read it and weep gop/tebircher anarchists!

    April 17, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. CABOL

    Is it true they are going to fine you if you don't sign up??

    April 17, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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