April 17th, 2014
03:46 PM ET
9 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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='KilloughCNN']

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.

Pelosi: Obamacare a winning issue | Democrats "ratcheting up" offense in Obamacare debate

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. Badley

    Only fools are those not taking advantage of ACA, and those that follow the old Repub tactic of tell a lie enough and some sheepeople will believe it (Visara).

    April 17, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. What's in that Tea Anyway?

    LOL....GOP/Tea trolls...we hate it, blah blah...we don't believe those numbers, Blah blah blah... Ok, so a lot of people didn't believe Iraq had WMDs, turns out they didn't and many folks died. Now, we have people who are getting insurance and people are able live...and the GOP/Tea trolls are upset??? Really??? You have to really dumb yourself down to follow the thinking

    April 17, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Jeff

    How many have paid?

    How many qualified for a subsidy?

    How many already had insurance?

    I think if those numbers made the prez look good, they'd find them right fast. I'm betting only half have paid, the other half got free money to sign up (which I don't call a sale), and most already had insurance. In short, very few people really benefitted from this incredibly expensive mistake.

    April 17, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. ever4lasting

    This is good news and people still needs to sign up. It is great that all of our people will be able to afford health care.

    April 17, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Don't like Congress? Get rid of the Bleeding Heart Democrats

    Why doesn't Obama come out and tell us the mix of people who signed up. How many are getting it for free? How many are getting tax rebates to help with the cost of insurance? All I know is that my out of pocket double once the Affordable Health Care Act was put in place. It went from 6200.00 max out of pocket to 12900.00 out of pocket. It is time to get rid of the Bleeding Heart Democrats who want the Goverment to control every aspect of our lives

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

    What's funny about the GOP position on the ACA is that the ACA is totally a Republican type of plan. It makes the working stiff pay the majority, it still gives the opportunity for huge profits to the HMO's and hospitals. I am glad we have the ACA, as a liberal I had wished for a single payer system and scrap the whole system we currenlty have. Instead Obama a democratic Congress and a Democratic senate compromise to the GOP.Still they hate it, they had 6 months of input from a half conservative half liberal panel, then claimed they had no say. Then they had 10 months of debate on capital hill but claimed it was 10K plus pages so they couldnt read it. Then they said it wouldn't save money, then they said no Amercian's wouldnt sign up for it. Time after time after time the GOP and Tea baggers have been wrong, wrong, wrong on this bill/law and spent tens of millions of our tax dollars tyring to repeal it 27 times...what will it take for Americans to realize the GOP has nothing to offer America accept anger, bitterness, greed and a lust to control over our daily lives with their attacks on reproductive rights for women, supporting large companies with religious owners attempts to pass religious specific laws to the working class. Forcing American's to accept guns in public while denying our soldiers health care, retirement pay and cutting funding for college and K-12 school age Americans.

    thank you GOP/Tea Party for Nothing.

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

    Funny... people are REQUIRED to sign up by law...if it was voluntary to sign up, the number would be ZERO – instead of Obama's ludicrous claim of 8 million.

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

    April 17, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. FLIndy

    I was waiting & hoping that the President would bring up the fact that many Repub governors didn't expand Medicaid and left millions without coverage that should now be covered under the ACA. He said it and I just cheered!!

    April 17, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Sedoy

    And now I would like for hospitals to go to prepay system for those without insurance. Unless they can show their state refused to expand Medicaid. This is the only way to make the rest of people bu insurance. No more pay back plans, no more bankruptcies. Prepay or leave.

    April 17, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. mcwreiole

    Does this President really think anyone with half a brain believes him? That 8 million number is as phoney as he is.

    April 17, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Malory Archer


    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.


    You do realize, don't you, that even though the deadline for signing up without being assessed a penalty on your 2014 tax return has passed, you can still sign up, right?

    April 17, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. macbil

    The Republicans are hypocrites. The mandate that everyone get healthcare as an act of personal responsibility was an idea from the conservative Heritage organization in the 1990s. A Republican governor made that idea policy (Mitt Romney in Massachusetts). The idea worked well in Massachusetts. Obama adopted in for the Affordable Care Act.

    At some point the Republicans have to say what they are for not what they are against and offer some real proposals for making America a better country instead of always disagreeing with Democrats.

    April 17, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @AUSTaxpayer: "Hey, only 322 Million to go!"

    Proving once again how uniformed rightie posters are: in 2009, there were about 48.6 million uninsured in the U.S.

    April 17, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. ChrisM

    Abbey "Dems/IRS seem to be quite pleased at threatening million of Americans to do as they say."

    Do you know how foolish you sound. For Gods sake , please educate yourself.

    To all the ACA whiners, How many had their Health insurance plans renewed in the last, oh lets say 20 years. And how many of those renewals had higher premiums and Higher deductables?
    Yes, the majority of those renewals had increases in both. And Now you are whining about it. Such hyopcrits!!

    April 17, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Malory Archer

    LOL – Careful slurping that haterade kiddies – we wouldn't want you to choke!

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

    How can one not hit 8 million mark when 5 million of us got our dear john letters back in October. That our ins would be canceled due to obamacare law....we were forced into this ghetto health ins. And most of the rest were already on Medicare....the lies continue and the sheep lap it up daily.....our premiums are less due to tax subs., btw that's my tax dollars to begin with....and our deducts. Went from 3000.00 to 12,7000 a year who can afford that?....better not get real sick or it's bankruptcy time.....

    April 17, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. DaveinIL

    Another nebulous number from the campaigner in chief. I seem to recall there was a number like 40 or 45 million uninsured so at very best if all 8 million were uninsured and not just cancelled or repurchasing, they're gotten up to a whopping 20%. All he needs is the aircraft carrier and the sign.

    April 17, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. rs

    The week just keeps getting worse for our friends on the Right-
    The ACA is working (well!)
    Their hero-rancher out Nevada way is just an armed rich deadbeat
    Diplomacy wins out with Russia

    April 17, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. rob

    And because Obama says something we are supposed to believe it? lol, I couldn't count the number of lies told by this guy and lapped up by his followers. Tell us how many already had insurance and how many paid. If it was good news, I'm sure he'd share it. Because it isn't, he won't and CNN won't even bother asking the question. CNN.."We don't report, so you can't decide".

    April 17, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Stephen Underwood

    The funniest thing of all is that many of the people signing up and saving money are the same knuckleheads who keep bashing Obama. More "Obama Derangement Syndrome" from the conservinuts.

    April 17, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Stacey

    You make it illegal to not have insurance. Basically all this proves is that 8 million people don't want to become criminals.

    April 17, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Scott

    There has never been a less "presidential" president. This pathetic "leader" constantly attacks the Republicans and then goes on about how they won't work with him?
    Never has there been a more dividing individual. His one and only MO is to divide and conquer, or try to. He needs to take a lesson from slick willy, and work with the republicans. Just look at what the economy did in the 90s after he got out of the way.

    April 17, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. rs

    Jermaine Brown

    When you throw 6 million people off their current plans and you cite 8 million as signing up what have you really accomplished? Get a life man!
    Just in this blog post, one Rightie claims 7 million lost their policies, another 10 and another 5. Face it you're all wrong. The most verifiable number is about 1.5 million- just about the same as its been for the last 20 years.

    April 17, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Mark Hazard

    ACA Wasn't going to cost 1 dime. 6 million plans cancelled. You can keep your doctor.You can keep your healthplan. Remember those qoutes that haven't turned out to be 100% true?
    How about all the parts of the law that have been delayed and have not impacted businesses, yet.
    By the way, the WH and HHS still have not released any of the statistics behind these raw numbers. Why anyone would believe what the WH is putting out is beyond me, when they admitted that they knew the story about keeping your health plan was a lie. The numbers without a doubt are not to believed at face value and in November the majority of America will speak to those up for reelection. I look forward to it.
    By the way everytime I see someone post the inflammatory and disgusting slang name about the TeaParty like “Teabaggers” it reminds me of just how angry and sad they are. So everyone is aware, the slang "Teabagging, Teabagger or Teabagged" implies placing ones genitals in another person’s mouth. If you want to keep using that slang to describe another political group go ahead but it really makes you sound like an angry fool.

    April 17, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12