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.

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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. rob

    1. How many already had insurance that was cancelled due to ACA?
    2. How many are paying premiums?

    April 17, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    The right wingnuts say they are not racist, they just disagree with Obama's policies. They are opposed to Obama cutting deficit, ending two wars, saving the auto and housing industries, raising the minimum wage, allowing people with pre existing conditions to have health insurance, keeping the government out of women's reproduction, equal pay for equal work, keeping social security and Medicare solvent, keeping regulations so we do not have to bail out banks again, building a coalition of countries to deal with Russian aggression, removing Syria's chemical weapons, and giving Iran a chance to dump their nuclear program, wait, there is more.
    Now, 8 million more are insured, adding to the 275 million already insured with policies that complied with the law, and an additional 5 million not living in red states who now have insurance through Medicaid. There are over 3 million students on parents' policies, which brings us to the lowest rate of uninsured in years.

    April 17, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. 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?

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

    Just accept it teabillies. You can not beat this man. He has beaten you at every turn. I suggest you just stfu until 2016.

    April 17, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Tom B.

    I signed up, but cancelled after finding out the price. How many actually went through and paid the premium? That's the real number, which we conveniently won't be told.

    I had health insurance as a private individual with a private company and was happy with the price and level of service. My policy was cancelled and the premiums went up over 700% with this "program." I simply cannot afford the price, now I am without insurance. Luckily for me, the healthcare.gov website informed me that I won't owe a penalty if I cannot afford to pay the premiums. I don't qualify for medicaid, and I cannot afford the high monthly premiums of the ironically named, "Affordable" care act.

    I guess that I'll just have to file for bankruptcy if I become seriously ill. This is terrible for me and I don't know what to do. They say I can file an appeal, but it can take 3 months to go through the process and I don't like my odds of getting coverage even after appealing. This program has devastated my healthcare.

    April 17, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. rockybird

    What about the other 30 million people? How many of the 8 million have actually paid? How many of that 8 million didnt already have insurance? The numbers mean nothing without more information.

    April 17, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. FLIndy

    From the haters comments on here it seems the President really touched a nerve today! Oh no, that number can't be true, oh no, there really are people out there that may have needed health insurance and couldn't get it before the ACA, oh no, this may mean that Obama wins and we lose!! What patriots you all are! For a party that continually preaches personal responsibility you just don't seem to mind paying for all those who used the emergency room as their healthcare provider. You really need to look inside yourselves and figure out what it is you are so afraid of!!!

    April 17, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. M Hunter

    Only 308 million to go.
    Insurance is NOT health care.

    April 17, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. rs


    Hey, only 322 Million to go!
    actually, the largest accepted number of uninsured was around 45 million (and that's probably generous. 8 million through the ACA, 7.5 million through the expanded state Medicaid programs equals 15.5 million total – that leaves a wee bit less than 30 million.
    That my friend is progress.

    How many would the GOP plan have enrolled..... oh, yeah.

    April 17, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. Richard Right

    This is his definition of success?. No wonder everything is the way it is.

    April 17, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. kenmargo

    I can smell the bitterness in the obama haters posts. It must suck to see someone you hate suceed.

    April 17, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. swatguy

    Fuzzy math, Mr Prez....6.2 million of us lost our insurance and then had to pay far more for higher deductibles and unwanted/unneeded coverage. Of the touted 8 million, how many are re-insureds for lost coverage? Why would we ever believe another word from this Administration?....never thought I would long for the days of Bill Clinton as shifty as he was.

    April 17, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @dr3yec: "And the lies never seem to stop, please people we know better. Lair and Chief doing what he does best LIE."

    No, you righties are doing what YOU do best: WHINE!

    April 17, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Doug

    While I suppose the numbers mean something, it is not much, other than an indication the website is working. What will mean something are statistics that show people are saving money, for quality health care. What will mean something are numbers that show not only that those that lost their insurance were able to be re-insured and that previously uninsured are now getting insured; again, at a reasonable cost for quality health care. What will mean something is an analysis that shows the government subsidies supporting this program will not further grow the debt out of control. There are going to be many indicators of success or failure of the ACA, but how many have "signed up" really isn't a big one.

    April 17, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. rheffero

    Yeah...OK Big Guy....great success

    April 17, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. David

    I simply can't figure this out. If 8 million people have signed up, I would think that many people would really be heaping praise at the President and the Democrats. However, I just can't understand why the President's approval rating is low. Also, the polls show the Republicans gaining seats in the senate. Could it be that a number of people who signed up simply do not like the President and/or the Democrats?

    April 17, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. just asking

    are people really covered by anything if they are paying $100 a month for a plan with a $12,000 deductible??? aren't these what the lefties in here called 'junk plans'? these plans sound like an insurance company dream. guaranteed forced income with almost no pay out to the people paying the premium.

    April 17, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. aztekman

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

    President keeps up with his misleadings/llies.
    Medicare does not have any costs to it? Did he find a pot of magical pixie dust that heals people without cost?
    Of the 8 million, how many were uninsured before? How many have paid?

    And on top of that, the debt has raised over 50% since he went to DC

    More political propaganda.

    April 17, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Dave

    Given some of the outrageous responses you did approve, CNN, I find it offensive that you would censor mine. So I say again: Republicans, you should have passed this law yourself. Looks like one of your ideas finally worked!

    April 17, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Loida Escudero

    How many have actually paid ? How many are "real" insured and not medicare / medicaid ? How many net new insured are there (not people who were insured previously but had their insurance canceled due to Obamacare ? How about some real answers, not this fluff nonsense.

    April 17, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Michele Bachmann was right about death panels for Grandma ?

    Sarah Palin knows the Truth ?

    April 17, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @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"

    Your insurance company could have offered you a compliant policy at the same price if it wanted to. And BTW, every year your insurance company chose whether or not to renew your policy – that's what's behind the whole "open enrollment" thingy you've probably heard about.

    Your beef is with your insurance company, not Obamacare. Grow up and learn to deal with it – and quit your whining already!

    April 17, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Loida Escudero

    How many have actually paid ? How many are "real" insured and not medicare / medicaid ? How many net new insured are there (not people who were insured previously but had their insurance canceled due to Obamacare ? How about some real answers ?

    April 17, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. kenmargo

    Hey clueless joe. Obama can't run again so he's not trying to get votes.

    April 17, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Wes

    I stopped listening to Obama a long time ago. Failed to deliver in his first term. Continues to fail today. Let the 3rd parties debate next time.

    April 17, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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