Obama: ‘We’re Not Going Back’ On Health Reform

In a speech Tuesday, the president emphasized the importance of the Affordable Care Act and the problems with the status quo.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: U.S. President Barack Obama embraces Monica Weeks, who introduced him and also benefitted from provisions of the Affordable Care Act, before he addressed supporters on the health care legislation in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building December 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. During the event, Obama defended the reasons why the Affordable Care Act was originally implemented and urged patience with problems with the healthcare.gov website. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Dec. 3, 2013, 1:42 p.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama has a simple mes­sage for Obama­care crit­ics: “we’re not go­ing back.”

“If I’ve got to fight an­oth­er three years to make sure this law works, then that’s what I’ll do,” he said at an event Tues­day af­ter­noon.

The speech kicked off a new White House cam­paign to re­fo­cus the Obama­care nar­rat­ive on the pos­it­ives of the law, fol­low­ing two months of neg­at­ive cov­er­age of the troubled rol­lout of Health­Care.gov. Now that the con­sumer ex­per­i­ence side of the ex­change web­site is largely fixed, the ad­min­is­tra­tion plans to spend the next three weeks lead­ing up to the first en­roll­ment dead­line on Dec. 23 by pub­li­ciz­ing the be­ne­fits of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The Pres­id­ent’s speech today was a more force­ful de­fense of the law than has been giv­en in re­cent weeks, and in­dic­ated a clear mes­sage go­ing for­ward: the status quo is not an op­tion.

“If you ask many of the op­pon­ents of this law what ex­actly they’d do dif­fer­ently, their an­swer seems to be, well, let’s go back to the way things used to be,” he said, ex­plain­ing that the law’s op­pon­ents have yet to co­alesce around a vi­able health care al­tern­at­ive.

“If, des­pite all the mil­lions of people who are be­ne­fit­ting from it, you still think this law’s a bad idea, then you’ve got to tell us spe­cific­ally what you’d do dif­fer­ently to cut costs, cov­er more people, make in­sur­ance more se­cure, Obama said. “You can’t just say that the sys­tem was work­ing with 41 mil­lion people without health in­sur­ance.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s strategy is to set up this di­cho­tomy between what is avail­able un­der Obama­care, and what was wrong with the status quo — the de­fault com­par­is­on met­ric since Re­pub­lic­ans have been heavy on calls for re­peal without op­tions to re­place it. 

Obama said the ACA is work­ing and will con­tin­ue to work bet­ter. While he wel­comed sug­ges­tions for how to im­prove the law, he in­sisted re­peal is not go­ing to hap­pen.

“Look, I’ve al­ways said I will work with any­body to im­ple­ment and im­prove this law ef­fect­ively,” he con­tin­ued. “But we’re not re­peal­ing it as long as I’m pres­id­ent. I want every­body to be clear about that. We will make it work for all Amer­ic­ans.”

What We're Following See More »
WEST WING REDUX
Allison Janney Takes to the Real White House Podium
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Carolyn Kaster/AP

STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
13 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
×