WASHINGTON – American President Barack Obama will attempt
to rally support for his healthcare law and stem a wave of bad
publicity over his flagship domestic achievement.
He will be joined soon by Americans who have benefited from
the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House.
The new healthcare website, which sells medical insurance, is now
working at acceptable levels after its disastrous launch, says
The act aims to provide health coverage to some 15 per cent of
American citizens who lack it.
Today Obama will seek to remind Americans that under his health
programme, insurers can no longer deny coverage to those with
pre-existing conditions, and young people can now stay on their
parents’ coverage until age 26.
He will discuss the intensive efforts to repair the healthcare.gov
website, which has been a flop since it went online on October 1.
The White House is also due to hold a youth summit tomorrow,
in the latest attempt to promote the law among the young and healthy, a
demographic crucial to the strategy of reducing overall healthcare costs.
It is part of a multi-pronged effort by the administration to counter
the Republican argument that the act known on both sides of the
political divide as Obamacare is “a train wreck”.
The law’s problems have sent Mr Obama’s job approval ratings
plunging and threaten to damage fellow Democrats in next year’s
Elsewhere in Washington DC today, the White House’s chief of
staff told a public policy forum that more than one million new visitors
had logged on to healthcare.gov yesterday.
Denis McDonough said the website’s new queuing system, used
in times of high traffic, worked “pretty well”.
“No matter what, we’re going to see this thing through,”
He did not provide updated figures for how many people had signed
up for insurance plans.
The administration aims to enrol seven million people in insurance
plans before the end of March, when all Americans are required to have
coverage or pay a fine.
But problems reportedly persist. Insurers says they are receiving
enrolment forms that have errors or are duplicated, while others go
“So far we’ve been able to deal with these issues because there’s
been relatively low volume,” Daniel Durham, of industry lobby group
America’s Health Insurance Plans, told Reuters news agency.
“But now that the floodgates are open . . . . we’re going to see a lot
more volume and health plans just don’t have the personnel to do all
[the technical fixes] manually.”
Today House Majority Leader Eric Cantor accused the administration
of trying to cover up the law’s problems.
“What else are they hiding?” he told a news conference.
“While the White House wants to claim that healthcare.gov is
now working, we know that Obamacare is still plagued with problems
and every American deserves relief from it.” (BBC)