WASHINGTON — Amid delays and a barrage of political criticism of his signature healthcare law, President Barack Obama played pitchman for the plan today as a critical enrollment date draws near.
Obama gave a speech at the White House highlighting how the plan has already benefited the public by lowering insurance costs and will do so in the future, senior administration officials said. He was accompanied at the event by people who have seen their health insurances costs drop, the officials said.
“What we are beginning to see as we get closer to the open enrollment period beginning … is that the abstraction is evaporating,” one official said. “It’s going away because the facts are being translated to benefits for real people.”
The president is taking to the soapbox just weeks after having to delay a requirement for businesses to offer health coverage in 2014, or pay a fine, because the administration had yet to issue final regulations in time for employers to comply.
Days after that July 2 announcement, the administration said it would delay and loosen requirements for new state online insurance marketplaces to verify the income and health coverage status of people who apply for subsidized coverage.
Congressional Republicans, who have repeatedly sought to repeal the health law, pounced on those delays, urging Obama to also put off requirements that individuals obtain health insurance.
“To say that, ‘well, we’re going to, we’re going to relax this mandate for a year on American business, but we’re going to continue to stick it to individuals and families’ is strictly, and simply, unfair to the American people,” House Speaker John Boehner said yesterday. (Reuters)