The Affordable Care Act has been around a lot longer than the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov, President Obama reminded executives Tuesday.
“Many parts of the Affordable Care Act are already in place and working exactly how they’re supposed to,” he said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Meeting.
The president pointed to what he said were a number of successful Obamacare provisions that have already been implemented: better deals on employer coverage; allowing children under 26 to stay on their parents’ plans; lower prescription-drug prices for seniors; and rebates for those whose insurers are spending too much on administrative costs rather than care.
As for the website itself, Obama said the price and products were good, and that competition in the marketplace had caused insurers to bid prices that were lower than expected.
However, Obama said he has learned a few lessons from the tech side of the experience. “We probably underestimated the complexities of building out a site that works the way it should,” he said.
Obama echoed the need for reform in the procurement process for federal information technology, which has received bipartisan support in Congress recently, saying the way the government does IT procurement now is not very efficient. “There’s probably no bigger gap in the private and public sector than IT,” he said.
The president cited partisan opposition to the law as a challenge that has created a rockier rollout than he anticipated. “One side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure,” he said, which makes the process of getting the site fixed more difficult.
Yet Obama remained optimistic that the website problems would be fixed. “I am confident that the model we built off the existing insurance system will succeed,” he said. The two requirements, the president said, are getting the site working, and remarketing and rebranding the law in the current political environment.
What We're Following See More »
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. it should be included. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.