White House Accuses Republicans of Trying to ‘Strip’ Health Coverage

With major pieces of the law coming online, the administration is touting the law’s benefits in a bid to boost its popularity.

US Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, speaks to reporters infront of the West Wing following a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with US President Barack Obama on immigration at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger
Dec. 19, 2013, 11:07 a.m.

Re­peal­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act is an “old polit­ic­al battle” that will “strip people of new cov­er­age,” White House of­fi­cials and con­gres­sion­al Demo­crats said on a press call Thursday.

“We’re hop­ing that Re­pub­lic­ans will come to their senses and real­ize how valu­able the Af­ford­able Care Act is to the Amer­ic­an people, not be­cause the Demo­crats say so but be­cause the Amer­ic­an people be­lieve it,” said Rep. Joa­quin Castro, D-Texas.

Among the be­ne­fits touted by the ad­min­is­tra­tion are the 129 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans with preex­ist­ing con­di­tions — in­clud­ing 17 mil­lion chil­dren — who have ac­cess to health in­sur­ance; the 71 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans on private in­sur­ance who have be­nefited from at least one free pre­vent­ive ser­vice; and the 3 mil­lion young adults who were al­lowed to stay on their par­ents’ health plans un­til age 26.

Also on the call was Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a pro­ponent of men­tal-health re­form and the lead­er be­hind the Af­ford­able Care Act’s men­tal-health par­ity pro­vi­sion, which provides 60 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans ac­cess to men­tal-health and sub­stance-use-dis­order ser­vices covered by in­sur­ance com­pan­ies at the same rate as oth­er health care ser­vices.

“I’ve heard about people who had cov­er­age and they thought it was OK, but then they got sick and got dropped”¦. [There were] many con­cerns from seni­ors about high pre­scrip­tion drug costs”¦.This is all chan­ging,” Stabenow said.

The White House’s ef­forts to drum up at­ten­tion about the be­ne­fits of the Af­ford­able Care Act fol­low a re­newed ef­fort by Re­pub­lic­ans to stop the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture law. Sen. John Mc­Cain of Ari­zona on Wed­nes­day in­tro­duced a Sen­ate com­pan­ion bill to the House’s Obama­care re­peal-and-re­place pro­pos­al from Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

Mc­Cain said the law has been a dis­ap­point­ment for Amer­ic­ans who liked their cov­er­age and wanted to keep it. But, the White House re­spon­ded, re­peal would “re­move or elim­in­ate” be­ne­fits some Amer­ic­ans are already re­ceiv­ing from the law.

“I do ad­mit there are prob­lems, but I say we have to roll up our sleeves to­geth­er as Amer­ic­ans and fix them,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa.

Cov­er­age un­der the law be­gins as early as Jan. 1 for con­sumers who sign up by Dec. 23. The re­peal-and-re­place pro­pos­al could come up as early as Jan. 6, when the Sen­ate re­turns from the hol­i­day re­cess.

What We're Following See More »
Twitter Bots Dominated First Debate
15 minutes ago

Twitter bots, "automated social media accounts that interact with other users," accounted for a large part of the online discussion during the first presidential debate. Bots made up 22 percent of conversation about Hillary Clinton on the social media platform, and a whopping one third of Twitter conversation about Donald Trump.

Center for Public Integrity to Spin Off Journalism Arm
19 minutes ago

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the nonprofit that published the Panama Papers earlier this year, is being spun off from its parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity. According to a statement, "CPI’s Board of Directors has decided that enabling the ICIJ to chart its own course will help both journalistic teams build on the massive impact they have had as one organization."

EPA Didn’t Warn Flint Residents Soon Enough
56 minutes ago

According to a new report, the Environmental Protection Agency waited too long before informing the residents of Flint, Mich. that their water was contaminated with lead. Written by the EPA's inspector general, it places blame squarely at the foot of the agency itself, saying it had enough information by June 2015 to issue an emergency order. However, the order wasn't issued until the end of January 2016.

Trump’s Political Director Steps Down
2 hours ago

Jim Murphy, Donald Trump’s national political director, is taking "a step back" from the campaign, after being absent for several days. He cited "personal reasons," although he added he hasn't resigned.

Trump Draws Laughs, Boos at Al Smith Dinner
12 hours ago

After a lighthearted beginning, Donald Trump's appearance at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York "took a tough turn as the crowd repeatedly booed the GOP nominee for his sharp-edged jokes about his rival Hillary Clinton."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.