President Barack Obama spoke from the White House Rose Garden today about the Affordable Care Act and the problems with the internet portal at Healthcare.gov... Obama said that there is “no sugarcoating” the problems with the website, and “nobody's more frustrated” by the problems than him.
“But the problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody. There's no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People have been getting stuck during the application process. And I think it's fair to say that nobody's more frustrated by that than I am.”
He said even though there have been some snags, “thousands of people are signing up and saving money as we speak.”
“Of course, you've probably heard that healthcare.gov, the new website where people can apply for health insurance and browse and buy affordable plans in most states, hasn't worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work, and the number of people who've visited the site has been overwhelming, which has aggravated some of these underlying problems. Despite all that, thousands of people are signing up and saving money as we speak.”
Several states have set up their own Health Care Exchange programs themselves. All 50 States were allowed to set up the Health Care Exchange programs, those that did not want to do it themselves where set up by the Federal Government and go through the Healthcare.gov website. Only 17 States set up their own Health Care Exchange programs. Nearly 20 million people have gone to their States Health Care Exchange program websites or the Federal Government’s website.
“So the fact is, the product of the Affordable Care Act for people without health insurance is quality health insurance that's affordable. And that product is working. It's really good. And it turns out there's a massive demand for it. So far, the national website, healthcare.gov, has been visited nearly 20 million times. Twenty million times. And there's great demand at the state level, as well because there are a bunch of states that are running their own marketplaces.”
Obama mentioned that “85 percent of Americans” have health insurance and do not need to do a thing.
“For the vast majority of Americans, for 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance through your employer or Medicare or Medicaid, you don't need to sign up for coverage through a website at all, you've already got coverage.”
President Obama also mentioned that some states have taken advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that was also included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He mentioned Oregon which has now added 56,000 people to their Medicaid rolls, people who had no health care coverage prior to the expansion from the ACA. 25 States declined to expand their States Medicaid programs, those States are predominantly Republican controlled States.
"So in Oregon, for example, that's helped cut the number of uninsured people by 10 percent just in the last three weeks. Think about that. That's 56,000 more Americans who now have health care. That doesn't depend on a website."
President Obama also mentioned that it’s time for people to “stop rooting for its failure”
“But it's time for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hardworking middle-class families are rooting for its success.”
Call centers have also been set up for those that do not want to use the internet. The call centers are open 24/7. Obama said “it takes about 25 minutes for a single person to sign up or about 45 minutes for a family of four.”
The phone number for these call centers is 1-800-318-2596.
And you can also sign up in person, by going to the website localhelp.healthcare.gov, put in your zip code and it will direct you to the nearest local office.
- To read the entire transcript of today’s speech click here.
- You can also watch the speech on the attached video.
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