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. Burbank

    Are they counting people that had to sign up just to look or people that actually bought insurance? I'm white middleclass and 63 years old. I don't qualify for any help (as soon as the site asked for my ethnicity I knew I was about to be discriminated against, and punished, for being white) and there is no way I can afford the cheapest possible plan which would be $540 a month.

    That means I will be fined about $500-600 at the end of the year for being whilte, middleclass, old and too poor to afford insurance and next year the fine will be much worse! Even in the best of times I don't have that much left over after paying my normal bills! Shame, shame on you Obama and cronies for making my already hard life even harder! I don't deserve that!

    April 17, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. sly

    8 million today.
    50 million this time next year.

    One of the best President's in US history!

    April 17, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. ChuckChucklesAgain

    It's all baloney numbers.

    No mention of how many lost coverage and forced into ACA. No mention of who actually paid. No mention of those who are really Medicare.

    It's all just baloney.

    April 17, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. John

    Right... and if I like my healhtcare plan, I can keep my healthcare plan, PERIOD. And if I like my doctor, I can keep my doctor, PERIOD. ANd if I like my hospital I can keep my hospital, PERIOD. ALL lies from the Liar in Chief. We don't beleive a word this liar says anymore because he is a proven liar. At this point, he'd lie about anything if it saves the Democrats hide in November. That is what all these lies are about. He figures lying got HIM re-elected, so it should work for the rest of the Democrats in November.

    Are the American people stupid enough to fall for these lies once again?
    Well, I hope the thousands of IRS agents that were hired to enforce Obamacare are now tracking them down instead of being used to target and harass the Democrats political opponents.

    April 17, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. John

    Uh, how about the millions that had to sign up because they lost their original coverage ???

    April 17, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Wes

    Health insurance is not the same thing as health care. Plus the numbers are likely fudged.

    April 17, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. somebody

    Joe

    Then why is Obama waiting until after the election to tell the people what next year premium. Its all lies for he can get votes

    -------–
    Hint:
    Obama doesn't set the prices. The exchanges allow individuals to buy insurance from private insurance companies. The insurance companies will set the rates. They don't have the rates for next year because they will base future rates on current (the remaining year's) business.
    The last time I checked, open season for health insurance starts in October which is BEFORE the election.

    April 17, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Progressive Beast

    ACA is working, it will only get more efficient and affordable as the enrollment numbers rise, and the right wing nut jobs are going to have to deal with the reality that ACA was a good idea, it is a good idea, and will continue to be a good idea in the future. Providing health coverage for all Americans is a goal worthy of a country as rich as ours. To the bitter tea baggers out there: sit down, shut up, and start actually trying to do something for the benefit of the United States of American instead of your bitter, selfish, greedy puppetmasters like the Koch brothers.

    April 17, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. berna

    do any of you rightwing people have insurance are or you going to the emergency room on my tax dollars.

    April 17, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. AlbaMN

    Well done Mr. President, it's a good start. There is still work to be done, but we are making progress.

    The Republicans are only mad because most of the bill was originally their idea, but it took the Democrats to make it a reality.

    April 17, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. so much for honesty

    Great new's IMHO, 8 million 35% under 35 and 100,000,000,000 under budget to boot, poor o'l GOP is going to have nothing to stand on in November but saying the same old hate....

    April 17, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Progressive Beast

    ACA is working, it will only get more efficient and affordable as the enrollment numbers rise, and the right wing nut jobs are going to have to deal with the reality that ACA was a good idea, it is a good idea, and will continue to be a good idea in the future. Providing health coverage for all Americans is a goal worthy of a country as rich as ours. To the bitter tea party members out there: sit down, shut up, and start actually trying to do something for the benefit of the United States of American instead of your bitter, selfish, greedy puppet masters like the Koch brothers.

    April 17, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @Anonymous
    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??!!
    ==================================

    It is mandatory to sign up. Its not a choice. If you do not sign up you get fined. You act like people chose to do this on their own free will.
    -----------–
    I didn't sign up – you don't have to if you have insurance.
    Yes – laws are mandatory. I didn't speed in my car today too. It is a law. I would get a ticket.
    If people don't have a choice why have conservatives been saying people won't sign up? That is kinda my point.

    April 17, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. aztekman

    "Obama Officials In 2010: 93 Million Americans Will Be Unable To Keep Their Health Plans Under Obamacare"

    – 8 Million have signed up and somehow they do not know who has paid
    – More misinformation/lies, "medicare does not cost anything", Pres. Obama
    – Barack Obama goes to Washington, Debt increases by more than 50%

    When will people stop listening to these politicians and start questioning them with real questions (not the type we saw in press conference today)?

    April 17, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Badger66

    Great news! I'm very grateful I can keep my 24-year old college student son on my insurance.

    April 17, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Progressive Beast

    ACA is working, it will only get more efficient and affordable as the enrollment numbers rise, and the right wingers are going to have to deal with the reality that ACA was a good idea, it is a good idea, and will continue to be a good idea in the future. Providing health coverage for all Americans is a goal worthy of a country as rich as ours. To the bitter tea party members out there: sit down, be quiet, and start actually trying to do something for the benefit of the United States of American instead of your bitter, selfish, greedy puppet masters like the Koch brothers.

    April 17, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. DH

    If you want to know how many paid, check with the insur companies. They are the ones actually collecting the premiums. After that check the ny stock exchange for the "thru the roof numbers" they are experiencing from the PREMIUMS received along side the new obamacare enrollment.

    This country has so much more to do and Americans re-elected President Obama not Mitt Romney.

    April 17, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. 2_indy1600

    "Collectvie crimes incriminate no one."
    Napoleon

    April 17, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. The_dude

    How many paid?

    (Insert cricket noise here)

    April 17, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    GOP/Teatrolls, fingers in ears: "LALALALALALALALALALA we can't hear you we can't hear you we can't hear you we can't hear you we can't hear you we can't hear you LALALALALALALALALA!!!!!!!!!"

    Guess what? How upset you are over the numbers only shows how worried you are that you're getting proven wrong. Too bad for you. 2 + 2 = 4 no matter how much you scream and rant and stomp your feet and claim that calculators are socialist.

    April 17, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. AUSTaxpayer

    rs,

    All Americans count, 330 Million, Not just the 15 million uninsured.
    Top be considered successful the program needs a buy in of much more than 2.4% of the population.

    April 17, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "What about the other 30 million people? "

    Did you somehow miss the fact that this isn't the only enrollment ever allowed and that people are going to keep on enrolling more and more? Yeah, you did, huh? PAY ATTENTION next time.

    April 17, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. AZ

    lets see what do I paid first 1.the mortgage (rent), my car payment then maybe if I have any money then the health insurance so I guess no food this week! Truth be told something has to give when it comes to paying my bills, can't afford it all. So I have no time to get sick. or hope I don't get sick because those co-payments,etc will kill my budget!

    April 17, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. kenmargo

    @Moron hunter. where do you get 308 million to go from?

    April 17, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Kristine

    Obama keeps forgetting that he MANDATED this. It's the LAW. You HAVE to sign up or you will face an IRS PENALTY.

    So please...I wish he would quit acting like because 8 million people signed up...that it's somehow working. Especially since he can't tell us how many of those that signed up are any of the 7 million that lost their insurance because of him.

    April 17, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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